PBS NewsHour full episode, Feb 13, 2020


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: I sit down with
Senator Bernie Sanders, just two days after his victory in the New Hampshire primary. Then: the politics of an outbreak — as the
coronavirus claims more than 1,000 victims how China’s ruling Communist Party is under
the microscope. Plus: the quiet epidemic. As coronavirus dominates
today’s headlines, we look at the rising global threat of measles. KATE O’BRIEN, World Health Organization: It
is really a collective failure that these outbreaks are happening, and the underlying
reason is that people are not vaccinated. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: U.S. Attorney General William
Barr is publicly upbraiding President Trump tonight over the Roger Stone case. The president this week attacked federal prosecutors
who wanted his longtime adviser to do up to nine years in prison for lying to Congress
and witness tampering. Barr overruled the prosecutors and did recommend a lesser sentence. But in an ABC News interview today, he called
out Mr. Trump’s actions. WILLIAM BARR, U.S. Attorney General: To have
public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department,
our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before
whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job. JUDY WOODRUFF: Barr said the president never
asked him to intervene in the Stone case, and he insisted that — quote — “I’m not
going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.” Also today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi charged
the president’s actions amount to interfering with justice. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The president is
again trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interests. And the
president is what he is. He thinks he’s above the law. He has no respect for the rule. But where are the Republicans to speak out
on this blatant violation? JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Mr. Trump attacked
his former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly today, saying he wasn’t up to the job. On Tuesday, Kelly said the president’s phone
call to the president of Ukraine asking him to investigate Joe Biden and his son was illegal. The U.S. Senate voted today to curb the president’s
authority to attack Iran, unless Congress approves it. The resolution passed 55-45,
far short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a promised presidential veto.
The House of Representatives approved its own resolution last month. The U.S. Navy confirms it seized a large cache
of Iranian-made weapons on Sunday. A statement says that a guided missile cruiser stopped
a sailing vessel in the Arabian Sea and found the weapons. They included 150 anti-tank guided
missiles and three surface-to-air missiles. They may have been bound for Shiite rebels
in Yemen. President Trump and top lieutenants talked
up progress today toward making peace in Afghanistan. In a radio interview, Mr. Trump said that
a deal with the Taliban could be very close. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there’s
been a — quote — “breakthrough.” And, in Brussels, Defense Secretary Mark Esper
suggested a temporary truce could be imminent. MARK ESPER, U.S. Defense Secretary: The United
States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence. We
have said all along that the best, if not only solution in Afghanistan, is a political
agreement. Progress has been made on this front. JUDY WOODRUFF: Some 13,000 American troops
are stationed in Afghanistan. The World Health Organization reports that
the coronavirus outbreak is still spreading outside China, but slowly. That word comes
as officials in China have reported a large jump, nearly 60,000 cases and almost 1,370
deaths, after they changed the way they account for infections. Meanwhile, a 15th case has been confirmed
here in the United States. We will look at how the outbreak is rattling
Chinese leadership later in the program. Back in this country, the Trump administration
is transferring another $3.8 billion in military funding to build a southern border wall. The
Pentagon notified Congress today that the money will come from the National Guard and
funds to buy aircraft and to build ships. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority
Leader Chuck Schumer said that the transfer amounts to stealing. Congressional Democrats moved today to revive
the Equal Rights Amendment banning discrimination based on sex. They voted to remove the deadline
for ratification. It expired in 1982, but Virginia recently voted to ratify, the 38th
and final state needed. Lawmakers today debated whether it is already
too late. REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): The ERA is about
building the America we want. It’s about forming a more perfect union, because, simply put,
there is no expiration date on equality. REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): House Democrats
are trying to retroactively revive the failed constitutional amendment. Congress doesn’t
have the power to do that. Congress set the deadline, and it was passed. It didn’t get
approved. And now there is an end-run to go around that. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Republican-controlled U.S.
Senate may not take up the resolution, but the issue is already in the federal courts. The state of Oklahoma plans to resume executions
of condemned inmates. The practice was halted in 2015, after a series of botched lethal
injections. Today, officials said they have secured a new supply of the necessary drugs.
There are 47 inmates on Oklahoma’s death row. The newspaper industry has suffered another
big blow. One of the nation’s largest publishers, McClatchy, filed today for federal bankruptcy
protection. The company owns 30 publications, including The Miami Herald, The Charlotte
Observer and The Kansas City Star. And, on Wall Street, worries about the coronavirus
outbreak in China turned investors cautious. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 128
points to close at 29423. The Nasdaq fell 14 points, and the S&P 500 slipped five. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: on to Nevada
— I sit down with Senator Bernie Sanders about the next political battleground; how
the coronavirus is exposing potential threats to China’s ruling Communist Party; why cases
of measles are skyrocketing around the world.; after impeachment, an inside look at an emboldened
President Trump; and much more. The race for the White House is heating up,
as the field of Democratic contenders narrows. Yamiche Alcindor reports on how the campaigns
are focusing on the next make-or-break states. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: This morning, one of the
few candidates actively campaigning, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He
brought his unconventional bid to North Carolina. Today, the state kicked off early voting in
their primary. In New York, former Vice President Joe Biden
was also fund-raising for his struggling campaign. He was also trying to use TV to his advantage. On ABC’s “The View” this morning, Biden said
he wanted to press Bloomberg on past policies and remarks about people of color during the
debate in Nevada next week. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
I’m going to get a chance to debate him on everything from redlining, to stop and frisk,
to a whole range of other things. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Then there were the senators
still in the race Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar, and Massachusetts’
Elizabeth Warren. Sanders narrowly won the New Hampshire primary
and the popular vote in Iowa. Early this afternoon, all three were back at their day jobs to vote
on the Senate war powers resolution. The bill would limit the authority of a president who
they all are hoping to unseat. As for the contests coming up, businessman
Tom Steyer is focusing today on Nevada, where voters will caucus on February 22. Hawaii
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is in South Carolina ahead of its primary one week later. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
was positioning himself for the Nevada caucuses as well. His team today unveiled a new Spanish-language
TV ad that it says will be airing statewide. Meanwhile, a powerful union representing many
workers on the Las Vegas Strip is clashing with supporters of Bernie Sanders. In a statement yesterday, the group said — quote
— “It’s disappointing that Senator Sanders’ supporters have viciously attacked the Culinary
Union for distributing leaflets criticizing his Medicare for all plan.” The next debate, which will be in Las Vegas,
is scheduled for next Wednesday. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Yamiche Alcindor. JUDY WOODRUFF: And let’s take a closer look
at the high stakes heading into the Nevada caucuses and beyond with the candidate fresh
off his win in New Hampshire. He is Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Welcome back to the “NewsHour.” Congratulations. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), Presidential Candidate:
Thank you very much, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, are you now the front-runner? SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I will let you make that
determination. All I know is, we’re working really hard.
We’re proud that we won the popular vote in Iowa, won the New Hampshire primary. I think
we have got a get good shot in Nevada and South Carolina. We will just keep going. JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to ask you about Nevada
and South Carolina. Four years ago, in the primary, you came close
in Nevada, but you didn’t win it. And South Carolina, you were beaten pretty badly… SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: … by Hillary Clinton. So you’re confident you are going to win both? SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: We are. We have a much, much stronger organization,
much better name recognition. We’re feeling that we have a shot in South Carolina. In
Nevada, I think we have a really good shot. We have — all over this country, Judy, I
think what I’m very proud of is that we have an extraordinary grassroots movement of people.
We have thousands of people who are just knocking on doors all over this country, certainly
in Nevada and South Carolina. And we have the agenda that I think speaks
to the working families of this country. JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about some of
your agenda. In Nevada, a powerful culinary workers union,
they announced today they are not going to endorse a candidate. It wasn’t so many days
ago that they put out a flyer saying that they oppose the kind of single-payer health
plan that you have endorsed. How do you respond to their position on this? (CROSSTALK) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Look, they are a great
union. And I know their leadership, and we work and will work very closely with them. Some of their — they’re part Unite Here,
the broader union, and some of the locals in Unite Here are strongly supporting us,
who have the same health care plan as the culinary workers. And those unions believe
in Medicare for all. Many unions do believe in Medicare for all. JUDY WOODRUFF: They’re saying your plan would
take away the health care that their members have. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, I don’t quite agree. I think our plan for them and for every person
in America would expand the health care that we have. We are going to expand Medicare to
include home health care, dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses. We’re going to do away with premiums and co-payments
and deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. We’re going to take on the greed and corruption
of the pharmaceutical industry and make sure that nobody in America has to spend more than
$200 a year for prescription drugs. Look, Judy, at the end of the day, we are
spending twice as much per capita as do the people of any other major nation. And yet,
despite that huge expenditure, 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, 30,000
die, 500,000 go bankrupt. That doesn’t make sense. JUDY WOODRUFF: But they are opposing your
position. Some of your supporters in Nevada attacked
the union after this… (CROSSTALK) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, you know, it’s
a funny thing. Obviously, that is not acceptable to me. And
I don’t know who these so-called supporters are. You know, we are living in a strange world
on the Internet. And, sometimes, people attack people in somebody else’s name. But let me be very clear. Anybody making personal
attacks against anybody else in my name is not part of our movement. We don’t want them. And I’m not so sure, to be honest with you,
that they are necessarily part of our movement. You understand, you know, the nature of the
Internet. It’s a strange world out there. JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to ask you about one
of the positions you have taken that people bring up often, that people — voters in New
Hampshire brought it up. You want to essentially cancel student loans
for most every… SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Student debt, yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m sorry. Student debt for
college students. This is not only going to benefit needy students.
It’s also going to benefit people who would go on to careers where they can afford to
pay those loans back. I heard — voters were asking me in a number
of settings in New Hampshire, this doesn’t seem fair. Why spend government money for
people who could afford to pay back those loans? SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, those people who
can afford to pay them back, under my wealth tax and tax plan, will certainly be paying
their fair share of taxes. Judy, we live at a time of massive income
and wealth inequality. And we also live at a time where every bloody program is enormously
complicated. It’s not just health care which is driving people crazy. It is filling out
forms. My income went up. I’m not eligible anymore. My income went down. I can do this. What I want to do and what I believe is universal
programs. The reason Social Security has been so popular over the years — you know what?
Billionaires like Donald Trump get their Social Security check. Mike Bloomberg gets a Social
Security check. It doesn’t mean much to them. The way you deal with social programs, in
my view, is, make them universal, and then you have the wealthy start paying their fair
share of taxes to pay for them. That is simpler. That is less complicated. JUDY WOODRUFF: You — I interviewed Pete Buttigieg
yesterday, who came out of New Hampshire a close second. Among other things, he said: This is not the
time for politics of my way or the highway. And he said, if your only choices are between
a revolution and the status quo, that’s a vision that leaves most Americans out. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Look, the agenda that
we are talking about is the agenda that working families want. I’m proud to have led the way, raised the
minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. Health care is a human right. We are the only major country
on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people. If somebody thinks that’s radical,
fine. I don’t think it is radical. You got to deal with climate change. Now,
I don’t know — Buttigieg or anybody else wants to deal with it in a modest way. You
can’t do it. The scientists are telling us we have an existential threat facing this
planet. I’m sure you have read a dozen reports about
this, OK? We have to act boldly. We have got to, frankly, tell the fossil fuel industry
they cannot be continue to destroy this planet. I support the Green New Deal. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you think that’s a plan
that appeals to moderate Democrats, as well as progressive liberal — and I’m asking,
because one of your most visible supporters, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, gave
an interview a few weeks ago in which she said that there’s such a thing as too big
a tent for Democrats. She questioned whether she and Joe Biden should
even be in the same party. It was sounding this — that this is a party that should limit
who belongs. (CROSSTALK) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: No, not at all. That’s
not my view. What Alexandria was talking about, I think,
is that, in Europe, where you have many, many parties, she and Biden probably wouldn’t be
in the same party. And that’s true. What I believe is that to win this election
— and I think it’s absolutely imperative that we defeat Trump, who is the most dangerous
president in modern American history — the way you beat him is to grow the voter turnout. We need the largest voter turnout in the history
of the country. And you know what, Judy? I don’t think that the same old/same old status
quo politics is going to excite people and bring them out. What our campaign is doing is reaching out
to disillusioned working people who no longer vote, to young people who have not gotten
involved in the political process to the degree that they should. That is the way, I believe,
we defeat Trump. JUDY WOODRUFF: But, with all due respect,
the turnout in Iowa not what it was in 2008, when Barack Obama… SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: That’s true. JUDY WOODRUFF: … engendered a huge turnout.
And then, in New Hampshire, the turnout among young people was down. (CROSSTALK) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: All right, let me say
two responses. Number one, in Iowa, you’re right. The turnout
was similar to what it was in 2016. But you know what? Young people under 29 years of
age, we saw a 33 percent increase in their participation. In New Hampshire, we won almost all of the
working-class communities in this country. And if we’re going to bring working-class
people back into the Democratic Party, I think, frankly, our campaign is the campaign to do
that. JUDY WOODRUFF: I was just going to say quickly,
though, the young — younger voter turnout, 18 to 29, in New Hampshire was down. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I — I heard that. I’m
not sure that that’s accurate. My understanding is that, on college towns,
the turnout was high. But we haven’t really analyzed those results yet. JUDY WOODRUFF: A question that has come up
from a number of voters, your health records. You said last fall you would release them
by the end of 2019. What is your plan about that? SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, we did. We released
them, in the same way that other candidates did release them. We had… JUDY WOODRUFF: As full and as complete as… SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Yes, I think that that’s
fine. Look, I am — it’s no great secret I had a
heart attack in early October. Follow me on the campaign path. We’re working hard. I am
feeling fine. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you — I was going to ask
you, how do you feel? SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I feel great, a little
bit tired. I haven’t had a day off in three weeks. (LAUGHTER) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: But, other than that,
I’m feeling pretty good. JUDY WOODRUFF: Understandable. I — Pete Buttigieg said yesterday — he said,
in order to compete against a president and his allies who’ve raised astonishing sums
of money, we need to go into this fight with everything we got. The president raised more than $60 million
in January. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well… JUDY WOODRUFF: Does he have a point? SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: No, he does not have
a point. I mean, the other part of the answer that
you’re going to give me is, of course, because he’s raising money from some 40 or 50 billionaires
or whatever, who are pouring — big money interests, CEOs of the drug companies are
pouring a lot of money into his campaign. Look, that’s what candidates always say. At the end of the day, the American people,
in my view, or in most people, are, frankly, disgusted by the power of billionaires controlling
not only our economy, but our — the political life of this country as well. What we have done is raise money in a very
different way than the mayor, Mayor Buttigieg, has. We have received more contributions from
more people than any candidate in the history of this country at this point in election,
averaging $18 apiece. We are a candidate of the working class in
this country. Our major contributors are teachers. I’m very proud of that. I don’t go to billionaires’
homes. I don’t go to wine — whatever they call them — wine caves to raise billions
— you know, lots of money. We don’t do that. And anybody who tells you, Judy, that when
billionaires contribute, when the CEOs and when the pharmaceutical industry contribute,
they don’t want anything, they’re just doing it out of the goodness of their heart, I don’t
think anybody in America believes that. And that is why we have such massive — why,
in terms of the drug companies, we pay 10 times more than Canada and other countries
do for the same exact medicine. Of course, billionaires contribute for a reason.
They want influence in the political process. I don’t want their money. My job is to represent
the middle class and working families of this country. JUDY WOODRUFF: Of course, there’s another
billionaire in the race. We can talk about him the next time — the next time we’re together. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I heard about that. I
did. JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Bernie Sanders, thank
you. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Thank you very much,
Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to the increasing political
toll the coronavirus is taking in China. Today, President Xi Jinping fired two high-level
Communist Party officials in the region at the center of the outbreak. The move comes
as the death and the infection toll are skyrocketing, partly as a result of changes in the way infections
are counted. John Yang has the latest. JOHN YANG: Judy, could this outbreak threaten
the political stability of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and of President Xi Jinping? Jude Blanchette is the Freeman Chair in China
studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Thanks so much for being with us. Two developments today. One, the provincial
leaders of Hubei province and of Wuhan, where this outbreak began, were replaced. Two, the
Chinese government changed the diagnostic definition of this virus, which has now given
a big jump in the number of cases that they’re reporting. What are the political implications or reasoning
behind each of these moves? Let’s start with the provincial leaders being replaced. JUDE BLANCHETTE, Center for Strategic and
International Studies: I think there’s two broadly important repercussions from this
or implications. The first is that Beijing, the central government,
is displeased with how local-level officials have been dealing with this problem. There’s
been a lot of resentment at — in the city of Wuhan and also in the provincial level
in Hubei with how officials initially were unresponsive to the spread of the virus and
then worked to silence criticisms or independent opinions on it. But, importantly, Beijing also wants to signal
that it’s taking direct actions to deal with this. So, there’s a convenient element of
well — as well of Beijing signaling that it’s not responsible, it’s the local-level
officials. And this is a long-held play in China’s playbook
of essentially throwing local-level officials under the bus as a way to distance themselves
from whatever the crisis may be. JOHN YANG: And then changing the diagnostic
definition, it sounds like a medical issue, but is there — are there political implications
to this, having this number, a big jump in this number, just as they replace these local
officials? JUDE BLANCHETTE: Yes, the reasoning behind
this was because there was a lack of testing kits available to do a real thorough test. And so leaders decided that it was better
instead to have a much more conservative estimate. However, I also think there’s a political
reasoning here as well. You have this new leader coming in to take over at the provincial
level, a man named Ying Yong, who’s the mayor of Shanghai. He obviously doesn’t want to come in and have
any of the problems that should be on the ledger of the guy going out be on his books.
So this was a way, I think, of signaling that he comes in with a clean slate with this new
conservative estimate. And now he can really only go up from here. JOHN YANG: Could this be a threat to the system,
to the Chinese Communist Party? JUDE BLANCHETTE: In a word, no, in the sense
that, if we’re thinking a threat to the actual fundamental political stability of the Communist
Party, we have a pretty poor track record in predicting when the Communist Party will
fall. It turns 100 next year, I should point out. Does this tarnish the reputation of the Communist
Party as a credible problem-solver? Yes, I think it does. The real value proposition
that the Communist Party is supposed to bring is that, unlike democratic systems, which
are quite messy and unable to deal with black swan events or to deal with long -term threats,
the Communist Party has the will and the unity to resolutely take action and stomp these
problems out when they arise. And as we have seen here, in the case of the
coronavirus, it really was metastasizing for upward of two months before China’s political
system really kicked into gear. And by that time, as we now know, the virus has spread
so widely that it’s really been a difficult problem to contain. JOHN YANG: But one of the reasons for the
stability or the legitimacy, I suppose, of the Chinese system is economic growth. JUDE BLANCHETTE: Yes. JOHN YANG: This is now beginning to threaten
economic growth. It’s now showing up in some of the statistics. They extended the New Year’s
holiday, workers slow getting back. What would be the repercussions of having
this growth slow because of this? JUDE BLANCHETTE: So, the repercussions are
not only significant for China domestically, but for the rest of the world and here in
the United States. In order, in China, we’re already seeing estimates
that this may knock half-a-percent off its yearly GDP growth, some estimates of a full
percentage. Globally, this is a big deal because China is the workshop of the world. This is
where a lot of supply chains intersect in China. And so, right now, you’re seeing companies,
U.S. companies, European companies, Asian companies, really scramble to find where they
can source components and deal with some of these labor shortages, as workers in China
are quite hesitant to go back to — go back to the factories. So this is already going to have a significant
economic spillover for the rest of the world. JOHN YANG: President Xi reemerged this week.
He was touring a hospital in Beijing, not Wuhan. He was wearing a protective mask. He had been largely unseen, under the radar,
at the beginning of this crisis. What do you make of that? JUDE BLANCHETTE: I think the reality is, there’s
no good position here for Xi Jinping. Take the visible lead on dealing with a problem
which you don’t know how large the problem is going to get, and you look inept and unable
to deal with the problem. Recede too far behind the curtain, and you
look distant and unconnected with the realities that people are dealing with on the ground. So, Xi Jinping right now is trying to find
a Goldilocks of just involved enough to where you look like you’re in command, but receding
enough to where you can blame lower-level officials if this goes pear-shaped. JOHN YANG: Has he found it? JUDE BLANCHETTE: No, of course not. We’re
sitting here having this discussion now, so I think people are quite surprised by the
lack of leadership that he has showed thus far. JOHN YANG: Jude Blanchette from the Center
for Strategic and International Studies, thank you very much. JUDE BLANCHETTE: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Even as health care officials
around the world struggle to deal with the coronavirus, a far more contagious disease,
measles, is on the rise across the globe. Hari Sreenivasan explores what is driving
this deadly spike. HARI SREENIVASAN: Nearly three times as many
people have died from measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo than from Ebola. It’s the
world’s worst epidemic of the disease. More than 6,000 are dead, with over 300,000 suspected
cases from every province of the country. PONTIENNE MWENGISA, Mother (through translator):
Measles is a very serious disease that attacks children, and we parents do not know how to
defend ourselves against this disease. That’s why I wanted him to get the vaccine, so that
his body can develop immunity. HARI SREENIVASAN: And military conflict can
prevent everyone who wants the vaccine from getting it. MATUTINA LOBVE, Mother of Child With Measles
(through translator): We have fled our villages because there is no peace there. If we also
lose peace of mind and in our hearts because of our children’s suffering, because of measles,
that is a really bad thing for us. We want the vaccine. HARI SREENIVASAN: Not everyone in a community
has to have the vaccine for protection. If 95 percent of a group gets immunized, there’s
what’s called herd immunity, when the high number of vaccinated prevent the spread of
an infection. But in the Congo, only 57 percent of the population
is vaccinated, according to UNICEF. There’s also the matter of the return visit.
According to UNICEF, while 86 percent of the children around the world receive the first
dose, fewer than 70 percent receive the recommended second dose. Dr. Paul Offit is the director of the vaccine
center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. DR. PAUL OFFIT, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:
It’s a disease that’s so contagious that you don’t even have to have face-to-face contact
with someone to catch it. You just have to be in their airspace. In other words, if I had measles and left
this room, someone really who came into this room within two hours of my being here could
catch measles. HARI SREENIVASAN: Measles can cause a high
fever, runny nose, cough and red eyes. During winter, those symptoms can be hard to distinguish
from the flu or a common cold. After three to five days, a large rash appears,
usually starting on the face, before spreading to other parts of the body. It can lead to
long-term health impacts, including pneumonia, swelling of the brain and permanent blindness
or hearing loss. The vaccine is usually administered after
a child’s first birthday, then again between ages 4 and 6, meaning infants under the age
of 1 are most at risk among unvaccinated populations. Lack of access to vaccines in a war-torn land
is understandable, but what’s happening in otherwise tranquil Samoa is something different.
Measles killed more than 70 Samoans last year. Nearly 5,000 cases have been reported. Keep
in mind, the population here is just over 200,000. ESETA MEKI, Lost 2-Year-Old Son to Measles
(through translator): The nurses tried their best, but, in the end, they told me they couldn’t
save him. HARI SREENIVASAN: Here, unvaccinated families
place red flags outside their home to signal that they need the vaccine or that someone
may be sick. ELSIE LELESIO, Mother of Measles Victim: We
have a lot of dreams that we need to fulfill for our little ones. But once they are lost,
we don’t know what to do, and we don’t know how to accept it. HARI SREENIVASAN: The government declared
a state of emergency, closed schools and banned children from gathering in large groups. Just
31 percent of children under the age of one received the measles vaccine in 2018. During the height of the outbreak, Samoan
officials arrested prominent anti-vaccine activist Edwin Tamasese, who rose to prominence
after claiming the government’s vaccination efforts would result in mass casualties. Such misinformation is fueling a hesitancy
toward vaccines, so much so that the World Health Organization labeled vaccine hesitancy
among the top 10 threats to global health. KATE O’BRIEN, World Health Organization: Hundreds
of millions s of people have received the vaccine. And it is really a collective failure
that these outbreaks are happening, and an increase in the number of cases and deaths
are happening, and the underlying reason is that people are not vaccinated. HARI SREENIVASAN: And, thus, measles cases
skyrocketed 167 percent worldwide from 2016 to 2018. Deaths climbed from 110,000 in 2017
to 140,000 in 2018. Needless to say, it’s not just an island chain
in the South Pacific surrounded by a sea of misinformation. The shores of the developed
world are also inundated. According to the latest numbers available, measles in Europe
has doubled, 90,000 cases in the first half of 2019, compared to 84,000 cases for all
of 2018. More than half those cases came from Ukraine.
In addition to being at the center of our impeachment scandal, it is also the center
of a population unconvinced by the science. ANDRIY CHERENKOV, Protester (through translator):
No one is showing the other side. There are many harmed children, for example, my nephew.
He has autism. HARI SREENIVASAN: Pediatrician Anna Kukharuk
says that idea changes quickly after exposure. DR. ANNA KUKHARUK, Pediatrician (through translator):
Some people say that measles is a children’s illness and it is better to just go through
it. But, as soon as they go through the illness, those who were against vaccination ask to
be vaccinated. HARI SREENIVASAN: Lest we think these beliefs
are still on foreign soil or that the measles is at bay in the United States, just look
at the numbers. Last year, the U.S. reported more than 1,200 confirmed cases, the highest
number in 25 years. Keep in mind, measles was officially eliminated
from the United States in 2000; 73 percent of America’s cases in 2019 were linked to
recent outbreaks in New York, with the vast majority reported in Orthodox Jewish communities
in Brooklyn, where distrust of vaccinations is prevalent. And the spread of misinformation around vaccines
has been gathering steam for years here. Celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Robert Kennedy famously
have spoken out against vaccines. Here’s then candidate Donald Trump at a Republican
presidential debate: DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Just the other day, 2 years old, 2.5 years old, a child, a beautiful child went, to have
the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick,
now is autistic. HARI SREENIVASAN: Such scientifically unfounded
claims mean experts like Paul Offit have to keep emphasizing their safety. DR. PAUL OFFIT: The frustration, I think,
is, it’s an excellent vaccine. This vaccine actually has the capacity to eliminate measles
from the face of the Earth, much in the same manner that we eliminated smallpox from the
face of the Earth. So, we can do this. We don’t have to suffer
the 150,000 deaths. HARI SREENIVASAN: The misinformation is perhaps
the only thing more contagious than the virus. It spreads quickly, thanks to closed Facebook
groups with thousands of members. Another reason these ideas spread is a lack
of firsthand exposure. It is important to remember that measles has been preventable
for 60 years, and most young people have never seen its effects. DR. PAUL OFFIT: I have seen a lot of measles.
I can tell in 30 seconds whether or not it’s measles. It’s how sick the child looks. Often,
they’re photophobic, meaning they’re intolerant to light. They look down. They’re squinting, because
they sort of have this sort of mild encephalopathy. And they’re ill. Measles makes you sick, and
measles can make you dead. HARI SREENIVASAN: Experts estimate that, over
the last 18 years, the measles vaccination alone has saved more than 23 million lives. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Hari Sreenivasan. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: traumatized children
and no evidence of success — the controversial industry of school shooting drills; plus,
a Brief But Spectacular take on poetry and revolution. On our Bookshelf tonight, “A Very Stable Genius:
Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America” from Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and
Carol Leonnig. It takes us beyond the headlines to expose President Trump’s chaotic first
years in office. And, Phil Rucker, one of the authors, The
Post’s White House bureau chief, joins me now. Phil Rucker, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” PHILIP RUCKER, The Washington Post: Thanks
for having me, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: There are so many anecdotes
in this book, I hardly know where to begin. But let me just pick one out from near the
beginning. You quote a senior national security official who told you and Carol, he said:
“I have served the man for two years. I think he is a long-term and immediate danger to
the country.” It doesn’t get any more alarming than that,
does it? PHILIP RUCKER: It doesn’t, Judy. And for reporting this book, Carol and I interviewed
more than 200 senior administration officials, advisers to the president, friends of the
president, and we heard again and again a recurring theme, that they’re worried for
the country with his leadership. They think he makes decisions impulsively, erratically,
without a basis of information. He rejects intelligence from his advisers.
He rejects information and knowledge from those around him who are in the government
to provide it to him. And that is the cause for concern and alarm from some of these officials. There are other officials we interviewed who
feel like America’s been lucky that there hasn’t been a terrorist attack or some sort
of major crisis to grapple with, and that they worry every day about this president
at the helm. JUDY WOODRUFF: You describe so many, many
incidences, we’re saying, but over the last two years or more. But just in the last few days, we have seen,
what is it, 2:00 a.m. on Monday, the president was tweeting about how he thought the sentence
recommendation for his friend Roger Stone was unfair. He said: “It’s horrible. Can’t
allow this miscarriage of justice.” Then, just a few hours later, the attorney
general changes the recommendation, reduces the sentence that the career prosecutors had
made. I think my question to you is, so — is the
conduct, the behavior that you’re reporting on, is it getting more extreme since he — since
the impeachment process? PHILIP RUCKER: And it appears to be. And it
fits a pattern. We have seen again and again, after the Mueller
investigation, after impeachment, that when this president escapes accountability, when
he’s held up, when he’s effectively on trial, as he was before the Senate, and escapes without
a legal consequence, without a conviction, as was the case in the impeachment trial,
he becomes more emboldened. He believes he’s above the law, as the president.
And he doesn’t listen to the counselors and the advisers around him. Instead, he follows
his gut. He says what he wants to do. He’s not worried about the consequences. Allies and advisers to the president told
me and my colleagues this week that they believe the president is so comfortable doing what
he did with Roger Stone because the Republican Party on Capitol Hill is compliant. JUDY WOODRUFF: And speaking of Capitol Hill,
what, you had Senator Lamar Alexander, I think it — Senator Susan Collins… PHILIP RUCKER: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: … who said after what happened
that they thought the president would learn from the experience. I mean, based on your reporting, how do you
see that? PHILIP RUCKER: Well, the lesson he took away
from the impeachment inquiry seems to be that it’s OK for him to do what he wants to do. And that’s how he’s proceeding to govern in
this first week after impeachment, and it’s how those around him expect him to continue
to govern in the months ahead. He’s in a tough reelection fight, and he seems to be willing
to do whatever it takes to win reelection, to perpetuate his own power, and to promote
his self-image. And that’s been the pattern, by the way, from
day one that we document in this book. The North Star for this president has been Donald
Trump’s image and what’s best for Donald Trump in that moment. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Phil Rucker, just today,
we are learning, in a speech last night in New Jersey, former White House Chief of Staff
John Kelly… PHILIP RUCKER: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: … making some statements
about President Trump’s call to the president of Ukraine, what much of this impeachment
process was about. John Kelly saying that call, what the president
asked for, to investigate Bidens, was illegal, and he said those who called the president
out on this, said it was wrong, like Alexander Vindman, who was forced out of the White House
the other day… PHILIP RUCKER: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: … he said Mr. Vindman, Colonel
Vindman, was just doing his job. He went on to criticize some of the president’s policies. My question to you is, why did it take more
than a year for someone like John Kelly to speak out, do you think? PHILIP RUCKER: It’s a big deal that John Kelly
spoke out the way he did in that university speech, and it’s taken so long because he
fears retribution from the president. So do so many of the others who have also served
this president and continue to serve this president. They know that he retaliates against any signs
of betrayal, and that he has no tolerance for people who are going to speak ill of him.
There’s also a sense among some of the people that served him, including Jim Mattis, the
former defense secretary, that they should be honor-bound not to criticize a sitting
president while he’s still in office. That’s one of the reasons Mattis gives for
not talking about his experiences with Trump in his recent book. But Carol and I, in reporting this book, talked
to a number of officials on an anonymous capacity, and they really shared their truth. And it
was alarming for us to discover, and I think alarming for people to read about and learn. JUDY WOODRUFF: And speaking of General Mattis,
you had the former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, as the one person who confronted
the president in that meeting at the Pentagon, the briefing in that secret room called the
Tank. PHILIP RUCKER: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: The president blew up at the
generals, didn’t like what they were saying, called them — what did he say? Said, you’re
losers, a bunch of dopes, and babies, wouldn’t go to war with them. So, Rex Tillerson confronts him, but then
Secretary Mattis doesn’t. Do you think he will at some point? PHILIP RUCKER: He may at some point. The explanation we got from people in the
room that day at the Pentagon was that Mattis is genetically a Marine, former four-star
general… JUDY WOODRUFF: Genetically. PHILIP RUCKER: … and follows the chain of
command. And the idea of standing up to the commander in chief in a military setting in
front of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was something Mattis was unwilling to do. There was another person silent in that room,
though, for that screed, and it was Vice President Pence. He was described to us as a wax museum
figure. He has a son in the military. The president called the war in Afghanistan a
loser war. His own son has been fighting a loser war, and he didn’t confront the president
about that in that moment, which just speaks to the fear that so many who serve the president
have about the president’s moods and whims and anger. JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there anyone in the administration,
in the White House or anywhere else, who dares to speak up to the president and to challenge
him? PHILIP RUCKER: At this point, I’m not sure
there is. The people who challenged the president, who
tried to steer him to a different course in those early years are mostly gone. And they
have been replaced with people who see their jobs as enabling the president. They try to
get to a yes. They’re not exactly the guardrails anymore.
They’re the secretary of state who allows for Rudy Giuliani to do this shadow diplomacy
with Ukraine. It’s the White House chief of staff who allows for the military aid to be
withheld from Ukraine for a period of time. They’re enabling what the president wants
done. They’re executing his orders. They’re not standing up to him. JUDY WOODRUFF: Phil Rucker, the book, you,
along with Carol Leonnig, “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America.” Thank you, Phil. PHILIP RUCKER: Thank you so much, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: Tomorrow marks two years since
the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A former student killed 14 students and three
staff members and wounded 17 others. Amna Nawaz looks at active shooter drills,
which are now practiced in more than 90 percent of public schools nationwide, and the controversy
surrounding them. AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, those drills are intended
to prepare students and teachers to protect themselves in the event of an armed intruder. But, yesterday, the country’s two largest
education unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association,
joined with the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety to call for schools to change or
end those drills. For more on why, I’m joined by Randi Weingarten.
She’s president of the American Federation of Teachers, representing 1.7 million members. Welcome back to the “NewsHour.” RANDI WEINGARTEN, President, American Federation
of Teachers: It’s always great to be on PBS. AMNA NAWAZ: So, let me ask you, you cited
your reasons for wanting to end or change these drills: the traumatic effect on students,
the lack of any evidence these drills are really working. What specifically were you hearing and seeing
that led you to believe the drills are doing more harm than good? RANDI WEINGARTEN: So, you know, we have a
gun safety task force made up of a lot of rank-and-file teachers, frankly, who have
been through this, like people from Broward, people from Sandy Hook, Newtown. AMNA NAWAZ: Who have experienced their own
school shootings. RANDI WEINGARTEN: They have experienced their
own school shootings or they have been with people who have experienced it. You know, unfortunately, we have too much
evidence of what happens in the aftermath of a school shooting. And, about six months
ago, when we were having one of our regular meetings, a couple of people started talking
about how these active shooter drills had gone really awry. AMNA NAWAZ: What did they mean by that? RANDI WEINGARTEN: They have been — it’s like
reality TV, and this simulation of an intruder in a classroom. And then you saw the story from Indiana where
they lined teachers up, execution-style, with pellets. And so it became — we started getting
very concerned that the consultants and the safety industry was trying to create simulations
that belong on TV, not in schools. And what was happening was that kids and their
teachers were getting really traumatized. And then we started talking to other people
who were saying the same thing, because 96 percent of schools are now doing active shooter
training. And then you started hearing teenagers saying
they’re more concerned about this than anything else. So there was a lot of anecdotal evidence. And so, between Everytown and NEA and we,
we got together, and we basically said, stop. Let’s rethink this. AMNA NAWAZ: You want to put a pause on it
while we really look at what we are doing here. RANDI WEINGARTEN: Just — exactly. AMNA NAWAZ: You mentioned the statistic. I
want to make sure people do understand this when you hear about these drills. Fifteen years ago — lockdowns have been around
for a while in some form. RANDI WEINGARTEN: Right. AMNA NAWAZ: Fifteen years ago, about 40 percent
of schools did them. By five years ago, as you mentioned, 95 percent of schools are now
going through these. But is there any kind of standardization?
I mean, does it differ what a 4-year-old hears vs. what a 14-year-old experiences? RANDI WEINGARTEN: Yes. Let me just kind of cut to the chase to say,
we’re saying, let’s make sure we don’t do more harm than good here. We know we need
to prepare schools for emergency situations, just like fire drills prepare schools for
emergency situations. But you don’t simulate a fire in a fire drill.
And so let’s actually kind of separate out lockdown, emergency preparation, where kids
actually need to know where to go when, and an active simulation. And what we’re saying is, if there are active
simulations — and we are saying, let’s really rethink this, but, if there are, number one,
parents have to be informed and students and teachers in advance. AMNA NAWAZ: Because that’s not always the
case right now. RANDI WEINGARTEN: In advance, exactly. AMNA NAWAZ: Right. RANDI WEINGARTEN: This is a simulation. This
is not real life. Number two, we have to make sure that there’s
a real kind of joint preparedness, so that a lot of people are in on what we’re trying
to do. And, number three, it has to be age-appropriate,
and we have to couple it with trauma-based instruction or counseling. AMNA NAWAZ: Meaning after the fact, to see
how it affected the children? (CROSSTALK) RANDI WEINGARTEN: Even before the fact. AMNA NAWAZ: Yes. RANDI WEINGARTEN: Even if — half the kids
in the United States come to school right now with trauma. So if we do something that
is triggering something else, then we are really hurting kids. AMNA NAWAZ: Let me ask you about this, because,
for all the conversation around active shooter drills, it’s worth pointing out these are
extremely rare incidents, right? Of all gun violence deaths in America, about
36,000 a year, less than 1 percentage point of these happen on school grounds. So, are
these drills even really necessary? RANDI WEINGARTEN: Well, that’s part of the
reason that we’re saying we have to rethink this and that, if they are going to be done,
they have to be done under these kind of situations. I think we should be spending — schools have
to be welcoming and safe environments. And I think we should be spending a whole lot
more time on making sure we have red flag laws, meaning, see something, say something. AMNA NAWAZ: Based on what kids have been saying
in studies, kids — even though these are rare events, kids themselves are scared. RANDI WEINGARTEN: They are. AMNA NAWAZ: There was a recent Pew study that
showed 57 percent of teenagers said they’re worried about the possibility of a shooting.
One in four say they’re very worried. Only 13 percent said they’re not worried at all. So, what — from an educator’s perspective,
what do we need to be doing to make sure kids feel safe in school? RANDI WEINGARTEN: I am talking about well-being
first, because we have to meet kids where they are, and find ways for them to be safe. That’s part of the reason why, when we saw
that these things actually are more traumatic than what they’re trying to solve — they’re
trying to set solve that if, God forbid, there’s a shooter people figure out in a split-second
where they’re supposed to be and when and have enough practice and muscle memory that
they will do it instinctively. We can do that without simulating an active
shooter. And that’s part of what we’re trying to do. We got to solve trauma, and help kids
be safe and feel safe and feel like a school is safe, not feel the fear of it. And I think that we see that teenagers feel
the fear of it, because we’re doing so much of this active shooter drilling, that it is
reinforcing that this could happen in your school tomorrow, as opposed to spending the
time getting underneath the emotions. AMNA NAWAZ: Randi Weingarten, president of
the American Federation of Teachers, thanks for being here. RANDI WEINGARTEN: Thank you. Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Tonight’s Brief But Spectacular
comes from poet Tongo Eisen-Martin. Born and raised in San Francisco, Eisen-Martin’s
writing offers a critique of the city’s rapid gentrification. The California Book Award winner’s latest
collection of poems is called “Heaven Is All Goodbyes.” His story is part of Canvas, our ongoing series
on art and culture. TONGO EISEN-MARTIN, Poet: I was born and raised
in San Francisco, in an interesting time of transition, a time when the — really the
corporatocracy was ascending. In a way, the streets still kind of belonged
to us. Institutions still belong to us. It felt like we had the keys to the buildings.
Along the way, it all got bought up, and now I’m just in a city that’s a strange and permanent
occupation, in which even the wealthy seem to be incarcerated. To walk down the street in the Bay Area is
really to walk through a dystopia. In one sense, it feels or it has the facade of all
this kind of aesthetic, even human evolution, but, really, you have people bouncing superfluous
conversation to superfluous conversation, bouncing meal to meal, and the rest of us
bouncing tent to tent, a bunch of condos and tent cities. This poem is titled “The Course of Meal.” Apparently, two months in San Francisco wasn’t
there in the first place. This dream requires more condemned Africans or, put another way,
state violence rises down, or still life is just getting warmed up, or army life is looking
for a new church, and ignored all other suggestions, or folktale writers have not made up their
minds as to who is going to be their friends. And this is the worst downtown yet. And I
have borrowed a cigarette everywhere. I have taken many a walk to the back of a bus that
led on out the back of a storyteller’s prison sentence, then on out the back of slave scars,
but this is my comeback face. I left my watch on the public bathroom sink
and took the toilet with me, threw it at the first bus I saw eating single mothers half-alive.
It flew through the bus line number, then on out the front of the white house, that,
hopefully, you find comfort downtown. But, if not, we brought you enough cigarette filters
to make a decent winter coat. My role in the Bay Area, besides hanging on
for dear life, is to do what I can to transform culture, from one that facilitates domination
of oppressed people to one that facilitates resistance. I taught in prisons, youth homeless shelters,
youth group homes, even youth psych wards, everywhere our conditions are most wretched. A lot of what I actually pull into my craft,
a lot of strategies, I actually pull from other disciplines of art, looking at John
Coltrane, looking at a Jimi Hendrix, trying to figure out what made them tick. Playing with ideas, playing with patterns
of logic does kind of stand outside of time and doesn’t require the same cultural landmarks
for anybody to engage your ideas and engage your words. So, in that way, a poet’s craft lasts a long,
long time. My name is Tongo Eisen-Martin, and this is
my Brief But Spectacular take on poetry as revolution. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can find more Brief
But Spectacular pieces on our Web site at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief. And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m
Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank you, and we’ll see
you soon.

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