Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 15, 2018 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

3:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, on a day honoring the life of martin luther king, the country continues to grapple with accusations of racism. then, the governor of kentucky, the first state to implement a work requirement for medicaid recipients. >> the vast majority of those who can work are already working so this doesn't apply to them. this is for those who are not working and maybe want the opportunity. >> woodruff: and, television actor tracee ellis ross on tackling race and identity through comedy. >> when one's heart is open through laughter so much more information can be received. i think its like giving people their medicine with a spoonful of sugar. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
3:01 pm
>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or
3:02 pm
line. more information on >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: this is the day that the united states honors dr. martin luther king, junior,
3:03 pm
assassinated 50 years ago this spring. but this year, the memorials came amid the ongoing furor over words president trump has allegedly spoken, and the views he holds on race. all across the nation, americans marked king day, with a march in atlanta, music, in brooklyn. and acts of service, in washington, where volunteers distributed coats. president trump released a video commemorating dr. king. but the president's derogatory words last week about african and haitian immigrants hung heavily in the air. martin luther king iii spoke at a washington breakfast. >> when a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like norway.
3:04 pm
i don't even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is. >> woodruff: in florida, demonstrators waved haitian flags as the president played golf near his mar-a-lago resort at palm beach. last night, mr. trump directly addressed accusations that he is a racist. >> no, no, i'm not a racist. i am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that i can tell you. >> woodruff: he also denied, again, reports that he had asked during a meeting: "why are we having all these people from blank-hole countries come here?" >> did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments? they weren't made. >> woodruff: republicans david perdue of georgia and tom cotton of arkansas initially said they did not "recall" any such statement. on sunday, they stepped up their defense of the president. >> i'm telling you he did not use that word, george, and i'm telling you it's a gross misrepresentation. how many times you want me to say that? >> i didn't hear that word
3:05 pm
either. i certainly didn't hear what senator durbin has said repeatedly. senator durbin has a history of misrepresenting what happens in white house meetings though, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by that. >> woodruff: but illinois democratic senator dick durbin held his ground today in chicago. >> i just have to say this what the president said in that meeting was so awful and so impactful on so many people. that when he denied saying it, i felt duty-bound to clarify what actually happened >> woodruff: the partisan acrimony now threatens any hope of reaching a deal on daca, the program that protects young immigrants from deportation. the president warned last night that it's not happening. >> we are ready willing and able to make a deal on daca, but i don't think the democrats want to make a deal. and the folks from daca should know the democrats are the ones that aren't going to make a deal. >> woodruff: mr. trump repeated that stance again today on twitter. later, the president tweeted that senator durbin had, "totally misrepresented" his comments. we'll return to this, after the news summary. in the day's other news, two suicide bombers killed at
3:06 pm
least 38 people in central baghdad. more than 100 others were wounded when the attackers blew themselves up in a town square. the place was crowded with vendors and day laborers. it was the deadliest attack since iraq declared victory over the islamic state group last month. turkey is condemning u.s. plans to build a kurdish security force inside syria. the u.s. says 30,000 fighters would guard against any islamic state resurgence. but the turks view the syrian kurds as loyal to insurgents inside turkey. in ankara today, president recep tayyip erdogan warned his military will "drown" the kurdish militia, and that u.s. troops better stay out of the way. >> ( translated ): despite all our objections, all our warnings, a country we call an ally insists on establishing an army of terror along our borders. don't stand between us and terrorists. don't stand between us and a herd of murderers.
3:07 pm
otherwise, we will not be responsible for unwanted incidents. >> woodruff: the u.s. has some 2,000 troops inside syria, working mostly with the kurds to fight isis. officials from north and south korea met today, for the second time in a week, after months of tensions over the north's nuclear weapons and missiles. negotiators sat down again at a border village along the demilitarized zone. the north agreed to send an orchestra to the winter olympics in the south next month. there's more fallout from the missile-alert false alarm that panicked hawaii. state officials say they've reassigned the worker who mistakenly hit the alert button on saturday. from now on, it will take two people to send an alert, and, they're making it easier to cancel a false alarm. it took nearly 40 minutes on saturday. and, crews in southern california worked today to finish reopening highway 101 after last week's deadly mudslides.
3:08 pm
the 20 people who died in the disaster were remembered last night at a vigil in santa barbara. thousands attended the event, lighting candles and leaving flowers. still to come on the newshour: the debate surrounding president trump's rhetoric on race. the governor of kentucky on implementing work requirements for medicaid. undocumented immigrants seeking sanctuary in churches, and much more. >> woodruff: as we mentioned earlier in the program, president trump reportedly used explicit language to describe some immigrants to this country, comments that are earning him backlash from both the right and left. but they also raise questions about mr. trump's own long history with race relations, and how that affects the national conversation happening now. here to unpack this complicated
3:09 pm
topic, i'm joined by peter wehner. he's a senior fellow at the ethics and public policy center, and former aide to presidents ronald reagan, george h.w. bush, and george w. bush. and jelani cobb, a professor at columbia journalism school and staff writer for the "new yorker," where he covers race, politics and culture. and we welcome both of you back to the program. peter wehner, i'm going to start with you. as a life-long conservative, how are you interpreting what president trump said? first of all, do you believe he used those words he's alleged to have used and what do you take away from it? >> yeah, i do believe he used the words, i don't think there is much questions about it. republicans like lindsey graham confirmed he used it. this is the latest link in a long, malicious chain for donald trump, a chain that's connected by racist sentiments toward mexicans, muslims and
3:10 pm
african-americans. in terms of what it says about him and how i interpret it as a life-long republican, it's extremely painful. it's revealing, and what it says about donald trump and about trump supporters is that they are racist or that they find great appeal in racist sentiments and expressions of racial division. you know, donald trump is appealing to the worst instincts of america an and, unfortunatel, his orders are responding to it. >> jelani cobb on this martin luther king, jr. day. how are his words being received, and are we learning something new about him from this? >> yeah, i don't think we're learning anything new. there seems to be a cycle in which we hear something outrageous, something inflammatory, something that is undeniably racist, and we sea, at this point, it's impossible
3:11 pm
to avoid the conclusion that donald trump is racist, and then we move on to another series of outrages, and then maybe a month or two months later we come back and say, okay, this definitively establishes that plump is racist. but there are never any consequences the to this. what happened and what he said regarding haiti and countries in africa is not revelatory. we understood the sentiments during charlottesville. we understood how he viewed the world when he said that judge curiel could not execute his duties as a judge because he was mexican. he is actually mexican-american. we understood this by the comments he made about the central park five. there's a long list, and, so, we haven't learned anything new in regards to this. as it pertains to dr. king, it's almost tragically ironic. i don't think -- there have been a number of people who have raised the question of his
3:12 pm
fitness for office, and we can debate about that, but one thing that i think is clear is he is not fit to address the legacy of martin luther king. i think the most respectful thing he could do at this point is to say nothing. >> woodruff: well, in that regard, peter wehner, saying nothing or whether he says something, how much damage is being done to the country, to the american people right now? >> oh, he's doing tremendous damage, he's doing it to the political fabric of the country. he's really trying to get people to go at each other's throats, and he's also touching on what is the original and the besetting sin of america, which is race. we've always had a difficult relationship with race, but we've never had a president who has tried to exacerbate those tensions. we've had presidents who have imperfectly tried to heal the breech, but here we have somebody who seems to take great delight and takes great energy in dividing us by race, and that
3:13 pm
has huge consequences on our country. i think a lot of trump supporters think in terms of checking policy boxes, but politics is about things much deeper and much more important than that and, in that area, donald trump is worse than we've ever had. >> woodruff: jelani cobb, can one person, even if that one person is the president of the united states, literally set back race relations in this country? >> absolutely. that's what's happening here. both legislatively and socially and culturally. it's one thing, we're talking about dr. king, in 1961, john f. kennedy invited martin luther king to attend his inauguration, and dr. king declined. but then, several weeks later, he gave a speech and, in the speech, he talked about what mr. kennedy could do to address matters of race. some of them are things that you'd expect, legislative
3:14 pm
concerns he had about civil rights and so on, but he then, in this letter, took pains to point out the social and moral authority of the office of the presidency, and he said that that could be, you know, difficult to measure, that that you couldn't come up with an easily quantified way to determine what that influence would be but it was absolutely important in terms of moving the country closer to the goal of equality. and mr. trump has failed tremendously on those scores. as a matter of fact, he's moved the country in the opposite direction to peter's point. we've seen divisions stoked, we've seen animosity, we've seen hose at the time. we've seen the still unfolding crisis in puerto rico and the way he referred to the inhabitants to have the island stereo typically saying "they wanted everything done for them." i don't know how at this point
3:15 pm
we can even question we've had a very retrograde movement coming out to have white house on these issues. >> woodruff: so, peter wehner, what can individual americans do? i know some individual republicans were quoting, tweeting martin luther king. is tweeting speaking out? what you should people be doing now? >> republicans need to speak out but they need to do more and the episodic criticism. they have to make a comprehensive critique and assault on trump and trumpism and his racism and they just really haven't done it with a few exceptions, president bush and john mccain have done it, otherwise, they haven't done it. other measures have to speak out about what is best and right and true and what is best about america and have to try to rally people and the better angels of our nature. sometimes viruses create their own antibodies. what donald trump is doing is so
3:16 pm
ugly that people, having seen this, will remember some of the characteristics and virtues that are important to individuals and to a country and recover them, but they have to check in at every point. >> woodruff: jelani cobb, what would you add to that? what yowhat should the message r individual americans now? >> i think americans are compelled. to think what dr. king was saying, the fact he was talking about moving the country past the ills we had seen. wreak havoc during world war ii and his words are there. i would encourage us not to go by what our leaders or the media or pete and i are saying today but to go to dr. king's words themselves to see what he has to offer in terms of how we address the issues we have in 2018. >> woodruff: we certainly appreciate both of you speaking to us on this martin luther king day. thank you jelani cobb, peter wehner. >> thank you. s a lot.
3:17 pm
>> woodruff: kentucky will be the first state in the country to require some medicaid recipients to work in order to qualify for benefits. in july, an estimated 350,000 people aged 19 to 64 who don't have disabilities or other disqualifying circumstances, will be required to work at least 20 hours each week. work can be a paying job or taking part in a job training program, volunteering, or caring for the elderly or a family member with a disability. pregnant women, full-time students, and the medically frail will be exempted. governor matt bevin's office estimates the plan will save kentucky almost $2.5 billion over five years, and reduce the medicaid rolls by some 100,000 people. i spoke with governor bevin a short time ago and asked how large kentucky's medicaid
3:18 pm
program is, and what problem this change would fix. we currently have nearly one-third of our population, we're 4.5 million people and we're about 1.5 million of us right now are on medicaid. now, there was already probably 20% of our population, 20 to 25% on traditional medicaid, and that is for the medically frail, the aged, the infirmed, pregnant women, children, those for whom the program was originally designed. since the caption of medicaid to able-bodied people of low financial means, we have seen that number go from 20, 25, 30 and now fully a third of our population. so what is it we're looking to change as we simply want for those that are able to be engaged in their own health outcomes, we want them to be because there's dignity and self-respect that is offered to people through the ability of people theo do for themselves. >> woodruff: how will you
3:19 pm
determine who is actually physically able to work? people who don't have a genuine disability that prevents them from working or people who have a genuine need to stay home to take care of children? >> sure. it's important. i'm glad you asked that question because this program is not intended, this expansion of the requirements is not intended for those for whom medicaid was originally designed, those that we just mentioned. it's not intended for those who are primary caregivers or those who are students and, in fact, if people are already working, then they've met the requirement. it isn't just a requirement simply to work. if they are not working, they also could take classes toward certifications and education that would allow them to find jobs. they could also volunteer in their community. the key is to have them engaged in their communities because it is through that engagement that people have healthier outcomes. they have interaction with people. they become a part of the fabric of their community. it's better for them, their
3:20 pm
health, their families and children as well. how many would it apply to? a subset of those known as the expanded medicaid population. the intent isn't to try to find big numbers or savings, it's to create opportunity for people to pursue the american dream. >> woodruff: i wanted to ask you because the research i've seen, kaiser family foundation says of those able-bodied adults as of right now or at least 2016 on medicaid that 60% of them are already working. how much higher do you want that percentage to go? >> should it be anybody who's able-bodied and not working and capable of working who's not working. why should anyone in america, and think about this, judy, why should somebody have to go to work every day and pay taxes to provide something to someone who could do the same thing but chooses not to? that's very un-american. so how much higher? i'd love it to be 100% for those who could do it and, if not
3:21 pm
working, again volunteering or providing a way to pursue higher education or training for jobs that exist. in kentucky we have more than 200,000 jobs right now waiting for somebody to fill them. i want to get people connected with that. >> i'm sorry to interrupt. that's another question i have because in this high employment economic environment we're in where the unemployment rate is very low, how if you find jobs for these people? what do you do if there isn't jobs for them? >> there are millions of them in america. it's important to understand and probably worth it for another time to have this conversation, the unemployment number is irrelevant if the statistics aren't valid and if you don't count those people who are capable of working who choose not to in those numbers, then the numbers are irrelevant. so while they're low, again, in kentucky, 200,000 jobs, millions of them in america, you can't go into any town in america without seeing a help-wanted sign and, again, if there were not a job, people also could volunteer, be
3:22 pm
involved in community involvement or education. there are many different onramps to give people a chance not to be dead ended into these programs like medicaid but to have them be a way station on the way to pursuing the american dream. i am such a person. i grew up in poverty and no access to healthcare ever. i had no healthcare of any kind until i was an active duty army officer in my 20s. i know from personal experience that people like me don't want to be treated with the soft bigotry of low expectations, that we're capable of more than that. and why it should be only a small subset, truth be told, think of how transformative it could be for people like me who are now in the same stage in their lives. >> verma head of the medicare/medicaid office. seems like -- seems like you're underlying the assumption that many on medicaid and medicare
3:23 pm
are trying to avoid work. is this your belief? >> no, i think this will be a small subset. statistics will show the vast majority of those who can work are already working, so it doesn't apply to them. this is for those who are working and may want the opportunity. i got an anecdote for the largest good will in our state. the head of the organization said as the word came out in a number of recent days, a number of their curse mers on medicaid are excited about the idea that jobs will not be only made available but made available to them because the dots will get connected. this woman was surprised and reached out to our office and said many of our medicaid office who don't have jobs are excited about the state helping to facilitate their connection to have a job. human beings want to be treated with dignity and respect and we'll give them that opportunity. >> governor matt bevin of kentucky. thank you very much. >> thank you.
3:24 pm
>> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: the political stakes of president trump's disparaging statements. an iraqi minority finds a new home in nebraska. and race matters-- solutions: using comedy as a tool to fight racism. but first, throughout his campaign for office, president trump made halting illegal immigration and building a wall along the u.s.-mexico border a central theme. now, nearly a year since he was inaugurated, immigration and customs enforcement says arrests are up roughly 40%. but the president's policy has also inspired a renewed resistance. special correspondent duarte geraldino reports from north carolina on churches offering sanctuary to undocumented immigrants. >> reporter: the doors of umstead park church of christ
3:25 pm
are unlocked, but eliseo jimenez is trapped within its walls. the 39-year-old is an undocumented immigrant with a standing deportation order, meaning immigration and customs enforcement want him returned to his native mexico. but he's not going. >> i'm not going to give up on my kids. i'm not going to take them away from their own country, take them away their rights to be here, their rights to better education, better life. >> reporter: instead he's chosen sanctuary in this church, relying on an ice policy that says federal immigration agents won't apprehend people in so- called "sensitive locations." it's part of a strategy to buy time to reopen his immigration case and to find a legal way to stay. umstead park united church of christ is just one of a growing number of churches around the country that have publicly declared their opposition to existing u.s. immigration law by offering sanctuary to undocumented people facing deportation. reverend doug long is the pastor here. >> i want to be able to say to
3:26 pm
my grandchildren one day, maybe i didn't live during the height of slavery, maybe i didn't live through nazi germany but when i had the opportunity, when we had the opportunity to offer refuge to a family in need, to an undocumented immigrant who was being deported, we did our best. >> reporter: the sanctuary movement has its modern roots in the 1980's, when civil wars in central america sent hundreds of thousands of political refugees into the u.s. seeking asylum. church leaders sheltered them and were later prosecuted and convicted, though received no jail time. the movement was revived under president obama, who critics called the "deporter-in-chief" for the record-high removals that happened under his watch. and since president trump took office, the number of churches that have joined this movement, saying they're willing to shelter people or help do so, has grown from 400 to around 1,000. >> the trump effect is in new allies coming in, is in these
3:27 pm
churches stepping up like never before, that is the trump effect. >> reporter: viridiana martinez is the founder of alerta migratoria-- migration alert-- a non-profit started during 2016, when many recent arrivals from central america were detained and deported. >> you know at this point it's not just a moral human rights thing, it's also a christian duty to uphold christian values and to be there for the people that are most vulnerable. >> reporter: umstead park began hosting jimenez in october, after first undergoing legal training in to learn how to offer sanctuary. pastor long says both he and his congregation had many questions >> is this legal? and in what ways might it not be legal? how might we get in trouble with our 501c3 status? can we provide enough volunteers to maintain this kind of ministry? how much does it cost? all those things. >> reporter: after talking to legal counsel and other churches in the area, the congregation voted overwhelmingly to welcome
3:28 pm
jimenez, converting a former office into a studio apartment. on weekends his children, alison and christopher, stay with him. they sleep in a tent, a small touch meant to make the ordeal feel like an adventure. a church volunteer stays on the grounds 24 hours a day, sleeping on a mattress in the pastor's office, just in case immigration agents show up. jimenez attends services and helps out around the church to pass the time, while back at his old home in greensboro, about an hour's drive away, his partner gabriela, who's also undocumented, works 50 hours a week and struggles to take care of their children. >> they don't really understand what's happening. but they get frustrated. they cry like almost every night and every morning. they ask me why his father is not at home. what i just tell them is like, "he's working in the church.
3:29 pm
>> reporter: jimenez says he first came to the u.s. when he was 17. in 2007, he was deported back to mexico, but re-entered the united states a month later, a federal felony. he did it, he says, to care for his then-young children, who are u.s. citizens. >> give them support, give them whatever they need for school, for clothes, anything they need just like i'm doing right now with my kids. >> reporter: in 2013, he was arrested for auto theft, but he calls the case a misunderstanding: he borrowed a roommate's car without telling him. court records show most of the charges were dropped, but he pled guilty to driving with a revoked license and failing to notify the d.m.v. of an address change. he paid a fine. and under the obama administration, he was not considered a priority for deportation. he obtained a work permit, paid taxes and was checking in with ice officials each year. that all changed in 2017, when president trump signed an executive order broadening ice criteria to include anyone convicted or charged with any
3:30 pm
crime, and generally giving ice agents far more discretion in whom they target for removal. >> people are checking in as they had been in previous years, and they're being told, you have to pack up your bags and go >> reporter: that rising demand, and trump's election, appear to be fueling this growing sanctuary movement. and yet it still represents only a tiny fraction of the broader christian community. >> we are to be people of the law, romans 13, be in submission to governing authorities, because we recognize that god has allowed those authorities to be there and therefore are good. >> reporter: russ reaves is the former pastor at this church in greensboro. he says he's worked hard to welcome immigrants into his congregation. but providing sanctuary, he says, is a step too far. a number of years ago, he was asked to do so, but refused. >> i would say that a church has every right, and should, reach
3:31 pm
out to see that are there felt needs there that we can meet? is there some way that we can help them gain access to the system that would perhaps make them able to stay? >> reporter: everything but actually offering them sanctuary. >> essentially yes. the most important thing we can do is to share our faith with them and to ground them in their relationship with god so that worst case scenario, they do get deported. they go back to where they're from with a sense of divine purpose for their life. >> reporter: with more people like eliseo facing deportation, and the demand for sanctuary growing, more churches will likely wrestle with this debate. remember viridiana martinez? she came to the u.s. when she was seven. she received deferred action for childhood arrivals, or "daca." and unless congress acts, she too faces possible deportation in early 2018. what about people like you? >> i don't know. that's a good question to ask the american people. if this administration is really
3:32 pm
going to going to put their foot down and say, "no, we're going to round all of you up," then i hope that we can have the support of churches saying, "we're going to open our doors to all of you." >> reporter: more doors may be opening, but how long eliseo jimenez and others are willing to stay to avoid deportation is another matter. for the pbs newshour, i'm duarte geraldino in raleigh, north carolina. >> woodruff: now it's time for politics monday. newshour correspondent john yang has more on the fallout of president trump's reported white house comments. >> yang: judy, we're joined by amy walter, national editor of the "cook political report," and margaret talev, senior white house correspondent for bloomberg news. welcome to you both, margaret. welcome to "politics monday." let me start with you.
3:33 pm
we've got the martin luther king, jr. day weekend. we're beginning a week that could end with a government showdown, and the president has spent this weekend talking about whether he's a racist, talking about there is a division -- a debate within the white house about what he said or might not have said if the oval office last week. what do you make of all this? >> remember, a week ago, "fire and fury," the new book was the big distraction that completely engulfed the white house and raised questions about the president's fitness to lead or raised the fact that there were questions even inside the white house about this and now the focus changed completely away from that and to this, but not without repercussions. obviously, it makes the idea of trust between democrats and the white house and certain republicans, the ones who deny what was said or some version of what was said was said makes it that much more difficult if p there needs to be a leaf of faith to get that leap of faith between now and the end of the week and it set off a series of
3:34 pm
foreign policy consequences involving u.s. ambassadors, leaders from other countries, relations with those other countries, and, you know, there are domestic and international fallout and that's how we start the week. >> yeah, chaos once again. chaos really rules washington, and a lot of it is driven not by policy but by personalities. the fact is nobody should be surprised the deadlines are coming. we've known for a long time that government is going to run out of money at the end of the week. we've known that the daca fix needs to happen before march. these are all solvable problems, but what we get into time and time again is a debate about policy that ends up then being a debate about donald trump, whether it's about his temperament, whether it's about his behavior, and now clearly about what he said or didn't say. the trump instinct always is to double and triple down on what he did and what he said and to
3:35 pm
focus on what his base wants instead of saying let's move beyond this and let's work to create, you know, a bigger, broader coalition. it is now we've gone from -- what day was it when they had last week, tuesday or thursday, all blends together, tuesday or thursday having the president saying he wanted to see a beautiful deal -- >> this close to a deal. -- this close to a deal, to today saying that the senator dickey durbin is wrong, he's misquoted he and democrats want to totally tank a deal. >> margaret, is this going to tank a deal? >> well, look, there are a couple of options, there are two deadlines. one is the shutdown deadline friday unless they move it and then march. do they agree to separate the two, come up with another patch for another month and fight the immigration fight then or say,
3:36 pm
you know what, president trump you put us here, either do a deal now or we're not signing off on the budget. i think we'll start to understand how this takes shape in the next couple of days. >> i think that's fair, and to see where democrats are. you have democrats up in 2018 this year who sit in red states, who do not relish the idea of having to go into an election year defending a government showdown and more fundamentally democrats just in terms of their dna, they like government, right? that's the whole point. so the idea that they'd shut down government which provides services to people goes against really everything that they stand for. >> but then the question becomes do they have more leverage a month from now to get this deal that effects not adult immigrants without documentation who got here but people who came here as parents, brought here by parents and now participate in society, participate in the
3:37 pm
military, go to college, who are considered not just by liberal democrats but by the center of america and many republicans to be americans and american citizens de facto. >> immigration has always been a divisive issue among republicans and now this weekend you had the speddile of senators cotton and perdue saying the president didn't say what others say he said and lindsey graham who hasn't quite said well, yes, he did, but did say his memory has not evolved as senator perdue and cotton. what's this doing to the republicans? >> the republicans, you're right, have been divided for some time, although you got 14 republicans to sign on to and vote for an immigration reform bill in 2013 that addressed a lot of these issues of chain flash family, migration, border security, the diversity lottery, all of those addressed and 14
3:38 pm
republicans supported it. but of course we saw they couldn't get through the more conservative house and it is the conservatives perdue and cotton who are driving the latest deal that, you know, they want to see that as the final package not the deal that's bipartisan between lindsey graham and dick durbin. so that divide is still there, and they believe they have a president now that can push this through. >> but there remains this question inside the republican party both in the house and the senate which is when president trump says something that individual lawmakers disagree with, that they find offensive or politically dangerous or wrong, do they push back and speak out and say that's not right, do they agree with that, or do they say as little as possible and manage him into a corner where they have a meeting on policy. a lot of republican voters are very happy with the first year of the trump administration.
3:39 pm
conservative judicial nominees getting confirmed, deregulation of many areas and the stock market. so the question is do they stick with that or do they draw a line for political reasons as well as for personal reasons? and you see here that split, i think, with cotton and perdue versus graham who has been traveling on air force one, playing golf with the president. why is senator graham so close to president trump? now you see why. he was banking on trying to make progress on daca and now this is all in jeopardy. >> yang: this weekend you had two new governors take office with new legislators. what are you looking for out of those states new jersey and virginia to tell us about governing in the age of trump. >> governor of virginia, democrat come in, inaugurated this weekend, really talking about the the spirit of cooperation. he has a very closely divided legislature republicans can control wanting to work with
3:40 pm
them, talking about no more chaos. you had a democratic governor in new jersey who's sworn in tomorrow who really is talking about being much more of an aggressive liberal force and, so, i think we're going to see a lot of those challenges for democrats in the upcoming year, which one to be. amy walter, margaret talev, thanks for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: many refugees driven from their homeland in northern iraq by isis have found a new home in a place you might not expect: nebraska. almost 3,000 yazidis, a small, non-muslim religious and ethnic minority mostly from the sinjar region of iraq, now call the state's capital, lincoln, home. from pbs station net in nebraska, jack williams reports. >> reporter: lincoln, nebraska is a long way from the refugee camps in syria where hasan
3:41 pm
khalil grew up, his family forced to flee northern iraq's multiple genocides. he spent 11 years living in tents. like many other yazidis driven from home after decades of religious and ethnic persecution, he eventually ended up here, in america's heartland. >> it's kind of like back home. it's smaller. you now, we lived on farms, back in syria. looked like really safe and that's what attracted me the most. besides the yazidi community that we knew back home. >> reporter: khalil opened his own barber shop a few years ago and has done his best to learn a new culture. the transition has been easier because of the familiar faces around him, other yazidis who were forced to leave family members behind and settled here. thousands of yazidis were killed in an isis genocide in 2014. >> most every family have probably lost a loved one from the isis attack. there are still many families that have uncles or mothers or
3:42 pm
brothers still either captured by isis or they might be somewhere in a refugee camp. there are still a lot of concerns where people are kind of worried that something more >> this is our english and citizenship classroom. >> reporter: lincoln has become such a popular destination for yazidis that they've established a cultural center, a place for refugees to learn the language, how to manage money and even how to drive. they also get help coping with the transition to a new country. >> with this yazidi population, coming recently versus the ones coming many years back, there's a lot more barriers to integration. they're dealing with a lot more trauma and so right now our goal is to help them overcome the trauma and remember their culture and carrying on their culture before we focus on integration. >> reporter: even though many yazidi refugees are initially resettled in other cities, they often end up in lincoln. some of the first immigrants
3:43 pm
arrived several decades ago after working as interpreters for the u.s. military in northern iraq. >> one family comes, talks to another family and then pretty soon you've got family and friends telling family and friends. well, my family is there, i want to be with them or maybe i can afford a house there or i can get a job there. and then the community support is a lot better than some of the bigger cities that they've been resettled in. >> reporter: at lutheran family services in lincoln, lacey studnicka's job is to welcome refugees, and the majority of them here are yazidi. nebraska is a solidly red state >> nebraska is a fly-over state, typically very conservative, but nebraska resettled the most refugees per-capita in 2016 and we've always been at the top of the list for refugee arrivals. >> reporter: so here we are 6,500 miles from northern iraq in lincoln, nebraska. what makes this place so welcoming and attractive to yazidi refugees?
3:44 pm
>> people love lincoln for the same reason we all love lincoln. it's low unemployment, very welcoming and a great place to raise a family and they really have found shared values here. >> reporter: most yazidis in lincoln will never go back home because of the unrest that persists in northern iraq. isis has been weakened, but internal strife within the region still makes things unsafe for yazidis. so they're establishing the traditions of their homeland here, including building a cemetery on the outskirts of town. yazidis raised the money to buy 20 acres of land. >> everybody is coming together on this project and they are donating their money and time to come together on this project. >> reporter: is this the one of the clearest signs that nebraska and lincoln are home for yazidis now? >> it is, yeah. we have yazidis from texas, from california, from other parts of the country moving here. >> reporter: back at hasan
3:45 pm
khalil's barber shop, he sometimes can't believe he's in nebraska, thousands of miles from home, but in a safe place where he has opportunity and a future. >> there's always hope. i think about those kids in the refugee camps right now that are struggling, i always feel like i want to give them my voice, tell them that there is hope. there is always a door that is going to open up. you just got to never give up and always have hope. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm jack williams in lincoln, nebraska. >> woodruff: now as part of our our ongoing "race matters" series focusing on solutions to racism, special correspondent charlayne hunter-gault has a second part of her conversation with golden globe-winning actress tracee ellis-ross. last week, they talked about the momentum behind the "times' up" movement.
3:46 pm
tonight, charlayne examines the popular tv series "blackish," starring ellis ross, and its handling of race. the daughter of singer diana ross, who plays rainbow johnson, or just plain bow. >> i joined the young black republicans at school. >> reporter: "blackish" is a comedy to be sure. but it doesn't shy away from controversial issues, especially racism, taking on the n word, biracial bow is confused about her identity and going to extremes to fit in with both black and white friends. >> those were my friends. >> were they? >> you should, like, totally audition for the theater this year. they could really use some strong black actors. toodles. >> a flying monkey? why did you agree to do it? >> admittedly mistakes were made but if you're in that situation you overcompensate. you do what you can to fit in.
3:47 pm
>> reporter: then there was a debate about the lack of justice for african-americans in the u.s. criminal justice system: >> but you guys, despite its flaws, we still have the best justice system in the world. we just have to have faith that it's going to work itself out. >> right. and and and-- why should we listen to you again? because you just assured us that these men would be brought to justice? >> because i hoped that they would. >> reporter: and "blackish" even took head on the racial divisions generated by the 2016 election: >> so can someone explain how 53% of white women voted for the orange ( bleep ) grabber? >> i've always said, the american white woman is as fickle as a pinot noir. >> well first, white women aren't sisters we hate each other. and second, if you must know, i voted for trump. >> oh my god! >> pinot noir. >> reporter: thank you for joining us now as tracee ellis ross. >> thank you for having me, i'm happy to switch roles into this person.
3:48 pm
>> reporter: good, well i like both, actually, i want to take you way back to when "blackish" first started, it's now going into its fourth season, but was there a conscious decision to take on controversial issues, especially like race, and racism? >> our show is consciously authentic, and consciously honest. and a lot of the subject matter that we dive into, and that we courageously dive into, in my people's opinion, does end up coming across that way. i think that they are topics that are uncomfortable for people, they are topics that are, need to be unpacked and discussed, and i think that's why they're uncomfortable for people new trim. when one's heart is open through laughter, so much more information can be received. i think it's like giving people their medicine with a spoon full
3:49 pm
of sugar, you know, or giving your dog its antibiotics in peanut butter, you know, so you can think of our show as peanut butter. it makes things more receivable. there is an ability to have an open heart while receiving things and it makes them digestible in a way that when you're getting punched in a face sometimes it's not as easy because you're busy defending and protecting yourself. >> i read somewhere, i think it was an interview with kenya barris, he said even when digging deeper means arguing among ourselves, this especially after the 2016 election, and that was one of the episodes that i thought was so powerful. >> i thought it was a really powerful episode and it did what we often do on our show which i think is a part of the dna of our show in that we don't answer a question. >> exactly. one of the ways i like to look at it is i feel like there's a lot of things that are on the wallpaper of our lives in
3:50 pm
this country that we don't really notice anymore or we are not forced to think about. and then there are some of those things that we are forced to think about but they're on the wallpaper of our lives to the point that we don't always unpack them, we just keep it moving. >> it's comedy and yet it's not always funny but is that helping an audience to decide some of these complicated issues, you think? >> we all look at these things from very different points of view, but what we end up with is not division but connection. >> i also read -- and this was a -- you may not even remember this, but it was in the "new york times" some months ago as a feature on you, you were in new york, and you talked about how these young white boys come up to you and -- >> yeah, and i find it so wonderful. >> they're such big fans. i think it's really interesting because, again, i don't -- i am not a fan of categorizing race in that way, but in the specificity of them
3:51 pm
watching our show, which is unpacking racial identity and cultural identity for this black family, the johns, and when i think of the subject matter that we've addressed both from the n-word to police brutality to being biracial, and then i think of a young white boy who already is immersed in a culture that has music using the n-word or whatever those different things are, but then to be able to watch our show and have, for example, the historical context and relevance of the n-word to be unpacked in a way i don't think anywhere else in our culture is being unpacked. i'm intrigued by my character and the expansive way i am able to breathe my life into a wife on television. >> a wife who's a professional. yeah, i mean, but that's not
3:52 pm
even what's interesting. it's she's more than that. the story is told professionally. it's told through the husband's eyes. but bo is not wife wallpaper in her husband's world. i don't think it's current. i actually think it's timeless. i think it is about time that television and our industry and our world wake up to the actual balance that exists. i mean, for me, one of my experiences is, you know, i have many a black woman and woman in my life that is the lead in their life, that is living their own life and doing it their own way and who is a doctor and a mother and a wife and a friend and a daughter and a sister and all of those things, and a co-worker and all of that. so i don't think that i'm playing something that's new or current. i actually think it's for life. >> and what do you hope people
3:53 pm
who are concerned about race and racism take away from this show? >> the humanity involved is actually what moves the scale. like actually being able to see each other as human beings beyond ideas and concepts, and i think our show unpacks that really well. >> do you ever encounter negative reactions from people when you're off the set an out in the public, or is it all positive? >> no, i mean, you know, i have heard very interestingly people say things like, i had no idea i would like your show! and i always -- because i'm the type of person i am -- i'm, like, why do you think you wouldn't like it? well, you know, the title... and i'm, like, what did the title mean to you? well, i thought it was just going to be about black people.
3:54 pm
that it was unidentifiable. it's so funny. my family is so much like yours. you know, as if it's surprising. but that's the beauty of it. i think that's the beauty of it. that is the beauty of comedy, and people seem to be moved and change by it, and i love that. it's a very rewarding thing. i mean, you can just make entertainment, you can make people laugh and that, in and of itself is a gift and a really joyful part of the job i have, but to make people think is cool and to make people talk and have conversations they wouldn't normally talk about. >> tracy ellis, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> woodruff: you can find more of our "race matters" solutions series online at and tonight on "independent lens," the oscar-nominated documentary "i am not your negro." it weaves together the writig of author james baldwin, including his reflections on the assassinations of medgar evers, malcolm x and martin
3:55 pm
luther king. the program airs tonight at 9:00 eastern, 8:00 central on most pbs stations. and online you can revisit our conversation with the film's director raoul peck about how james baldwin changed his life. that and more is on our web site, and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, concerns over our children's addiction to mobile technologies. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on
3:56 pm
>> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh eduardo: this week on history detectives,
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
what does this letter reveal about a forgotten act of heroism during the final days of the korean war? all's he said was that he jumped on a grenade to save other guys and knew that if he didn't, everyone was going to die. tukufu: how did this alleged lesbian autobiography escape censorship in the 1930s? wes: and what can this painting tell us about a turning point in the civil war? this is beautiful! elvis costello: ♪ watchin' the detectives ♪ i get so angry when the teardrops start ♪ ♪ but he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart ♪ ♪ watchin' the detectives ♪ it's just like watchin' the detectives ♪


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on