this is bbc news. we'll have the headlines and all the main news stories for you at the top of the hour, as newsday continues straight after hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. what kind of republican party will be fighting for control of the us congress in 2022 and attempting to regain the white house in 202a? in large part, it'll hinge on donald trump. right now, he remains the dominant political figure on the american right. but american conservatism faces
other defining choices, too. not least whether the time has come to break up the unprecedented power of america's tech giants. my guest is colorado republican congressman ken buck. do today's republicans have a coherent worldview? ken buck in colorado, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. mr buck, it's a pleasure to have you on the show. i think it's fair to say you characterise yourself
as a freedom loving libertarian republican, a man who opposes big government. why is it, then, that when it comes to america's giant tech corporations — the most successful companies in all of american capitalism — you want big government to intervene to quote unquote tame them. yeah, i don't want big government to intervene, i want to make sure that we create competition in the marketplace, and i think that's the key distinction. i'm not looking for the heavy hand of government to come in and break up companies or otherwise support companies that are weaker or have not been able to compete in the marketplace. i think there are unfair advantages right now. i think we need to level the playing field in the big tech market and make sure that we have competition. it's pretty unusual, isn't it, for, you know, if i may say so, a right wing republican to declare that capitalism has failed 7 i have to tell you something,
i don't believe capitalism has failed, and i don't believe i'm right wing, i think i'm right in the middle of the political spectrum. it's just everybody is to the left of me. but i do believe that we, in a capitalist system, have always had, or at least for the last 100 and whatever 50 years, we have had a view towards monopolies that allows government to come into the economy and to make sure that there is competition. to be specific, it seems you personally want to see the dismantling of some of the behemoths, the giant tech companies. you don't believe that facebook should own instagram, it seems, or whatsapp. you seem to believe that google is abusing its powers by selling its own or making sure that its own brands and products come up very high on its search engine. if the brave new world that you want to see were actually to be delivered, the truth is, is it not, that
american consumers and others would face higher prices? thousands and thousands of people who work in america's successful tech sector would be thrown out of work. this would be a net disaster for the us economy. i don't know where you got that from. no. i believe that we need to have competition in the marketplace. i don't believe we need to destroy companies. these companies will thrive. they were successful because the economy was in a position to allow them to thrive. they produced a good product and other companies will produce a better product. and that's what we want to see. we want to see competition. the idea that that somehow the american economy will be in shambles or even these companies will be in shambles is just nonsense. well, don't rely on my words. rely on your fellow republican congressman darrell issa, who says that if you got your way, there would be an unprecedented expansion
of big government, an invitation for china to gain even greater access to our data. the creation of new and broader powers for government regulators. a grab bag of anti—business provisions that certainly would not empower consumers. that's your fellow republican. and the great thing about the republican party in this country is that we have disagreements and we have vigorous disagreements, and at the end of the day, we come together over better policy because we disagree. and darrell and i have a disagreement on this issue. he is from california. he represents many of the companies that are being targeted with these antitrust laws. and he certainly is entitled to his opinion. i believe, at the end of the day, that we will see antitrust laws applied in the high—tech economy in a way that creates competition and we will have even better choice and prices. yeah, you see, the companies themselves do say that your
proposals would lead to, quote, one of the trade groups backing the net choice, higher prices, fewer choices, less innovation. it is a message. let me ask you something. what would you expect a company like that to say? they're certainly not going to welcome these changes because these changes allow competitors to be stronger and compete with them and challenge them in the marketplace. these laws that we're talking about place consumers first. these companies don't place consumers first. they place their bottom line first. if you've read the articles about facebook and facebook seeing the rising suicide rates among teenage girls in america and continuing to do... notjust continuing to do, but doubling down on their business model, that's something that... 0h, believe me, congressman, i've seen it and i've heard frances haugen, the whistle—blower at facebook, talking about what the company knew about the damaging impacts
of some of the products and services they provide on social media platforms. we are very well aware of that, but it is indeed interesting, is it not, that ms haugen also said she did not believe that the dismantling, the break—up of facebook would help one little bit? you may be barking at the wrong tree here. well, as i said before, i am in favour of competition and i'm in favour of making sure that we have a level playing field so that competitors can compete with these four companies. you keep talking about this heavy hand of government breaking up companies. i think what's important is that we allow competitors to give consumers choice, we allow competitors to give consumers the opportunity to make decisions that don't involve losing their privacy. we make choices based on whether we want, for example, with that facebook that we just talked about, whether it should only be for young women under 18 years
old should only be shots above the shoulders and not full body shots. if we had competition in the marketplace, we would have people making sure that they offered services and products that parents could make good choices and protect their children. right now we don't. yeah. you're a politician, mr buck. your business is the art... you're a journalist. yeah. and your business is the art of the possible and what you appear to want to happen to america's most successful economic sector, it seems to me, simply isn't going to happen. your own leader in the house, kevin mccarthy, says your proposals won't fly. steny hoyer for the democrats says his party isn't going to support you. yes, you have some support amongst progressive liberals, but you're a staunch conservative, and most republicans right now are just not with you. so this is going nowhere. well, that's
certainly your view. my view is that, through good arguments, we will get a majority in the house and a majority in the senate, and we will get these bills passed. i have to tell you, i would rather be correct and not get to the finish line than be incorrect. i am not going to compromise on the importance that i place on consumers' choice and protection in this area. let me now move on, if i may, congressman, to other areas where you have taken a stand. you've taken a stand on covid, covid measures. you personally have declared for many, many months that you will not get vaccinated. is that still your position? my position is that what i do with the vaccine is my business. i don't believe in vaccine mandates. that the government should require individuals to put a foreign substance in their body for a disease like this. we've seen a lot of very new and interesting information on the vaccine.
what we've seen is that people who have been vaccinated are still getting the disease and still dying, in some, still dying from the disease. so i think that people need to make their own choices and need to be given the best information available. and, again, now we go back to the tech centre. when you censor the debate on something as important as vaccines for covid, you are denying people that information and you're creating a paranoia among some people. why is big tech, why is government censoring information? and so i think the best thing we can allow people to do is to make a decision for their own health. i don't think anybody is censoring the information and the data, which quite clearly shows that the vaccines work. they drastically reduce the possibilities you're going to get infected, and even further reduce the possibility you're going to be hospitalised or killed by covid—i9. are you aware of... they are censoring information
about the fact that young people are at very low risk for having any ill side—effects from this disease. congressman, if i may, just a simple question — are you aware of what's happening in the hospitals in denver, colorado, your home state right now? i am aware that we have increased numbers of individuals in those hospitals, and many of them have been vaccinated. but most have not. let me quote to you, if i may, bob mcdonald, executive director of the denver department of public health. he's quite clearly blaming the unvaccinated for what is happening. "83% of those hospitalised for covid—i9 have not gotten vaccinated," says mr mcdonald. "hospitals are filling up with those who have chosen not to get vaccinated." when you say, "it's my choice not to get vaccinated," many watching and listening to this will say, "it's not about you, it's about the collective, it's about society. "you have a duty to get vaccinated, not just to protect yourself, but to protect other people."
and when you talk about the collective, that's a great word that i think we need to distinguish in terms of american politics and, frankly, the liberty and freedom that we believe in, in this country. whether i've been vaccinated or not, you keep saying that i haven't been vaccinated, and i said very clearly that it was up to me to make that decision. but i have to tell you that individuals have the ability in this country to be wrong, and that's something that we cherish in this country. now, they may have made a decision that's the absolute right decision, and they may have made a decision that's the wrong decision. but they have that freedom and especially when it comes to their own body and their own decisions concerning medicine. and i will absolutely support individuals who decide not to get vaccinated. millions of americans in this country have had this disease and haven't even known that they've had this disease, and therefore they are...
their immunity has increased as it relates to this disease. is it not a crying shame that in the united states of america, measures to try and protect the public from covid—i9 have become so deeply politicised, where we have republican governors of states like texas and florida going to court to try to stop schools mandating that their pupils should wear mask? is that not a horrible indictment of where politics in america sits today? no, what's a horrible indictment is that anyone thinks that government should be able to require individuals to stick a needle in their arm and put a substance that government decides is right for you into your body. that's what would be a crying shame. and when you read the stats which tell us that it is quite obvious now, infection rates, hospitalisation rates are much higher in republican—leaning areas than democrat—voting areas of the united states, ie, that there is an ideological
connection to the way covid is hitting america, does that disturb you in any way? what disturbs me is when the governors from these liberal states shut down their economies and cause increased suicide rates and cause increased drug abuse and cause increased domestic violence. and by doing so, those statistics aren't brought out. the statistics that you mentioned are brought out and, frankly, many of these states that you're now citing have turned the corner and have lower death rates than the states that have shut down their economies and harmed their individuals by doing so. just briefly, if i may turn to gun control with you, congressman, you are well known as a passionate advocate of second amendment rights. you are said by the new york times to be one of the politicians most heavily financed by the national rifle association. when you read that there's been a massive spike in gun sales,
gun ownership, connected both, it seems, to what happened onjanuary 6th on capitol hill after donald trump's election defeat, and also insecurities fed by the covid pandemic, when you read about that spike in gun sales and the spike in firearms murders across the united states, does it give you pause to reconsider your position? what's giving me pause is why i ever agreed to an interview like this. we need to back up and go through a number of different parts of your question because it's absolutely unfair. and it surprises me that as a respected journalist you'd do that. the nra, i am not one of the highest supported members in congress from the nra. iran an election in 2009 and 2010 and i lost a race for the united states senate. they spent money in that race. since that time, the nra has not given me much money, a couple of thousand dollars in a couple of election cycles. that does not make me the highest paid or highest supported memberfrom the nra.
and the idea in this country that we're going to take guns away from people is an idea that's repugnant notjust to me, but to a large portion of our population. it's just that you are a staunch defender, for example, of maintaining the status quo on assault weapons being legal in the united states. there's a big movement to try and get them banned, as indeed, they were pretty much banned before 2004, but you are absolutely adamantly opposed to that. ijust wonder, i don't think this is an unfair question, but ijust wonder in the current highly toxic, polarised, potentially violent political culture we see in the united states, whether you would reconsider your position? well, it is an unfair question. let me explain why, because you're only giving one side of the issue. after the assault weapons ban expired early this century, it was analysed. the statisticians
came in and looked at it, and it was determined that there was no effect on violent gun crimes in this country as a result of having the "assault weapons" ban in place. now the truth about assault weapons is that many people in this country use, and i mean millions of people in this country, use ar—iss in the countryside to kill predators that are that are preying on their chickens and small livestock, and people don't want their ar—iss taken away from them. if they're used by people who have mental illnesses, let's deal with the mental illness, stop dealing and stop blaming the gun for committing crimes. we have a serious problem in this country with mental illness. we should address that problem, but we should not try to take away a constitutionally protected right because we have another issue that we refuse to deal with. you may think it's unfair that
i've linked the spike in gun sales and in firearms murders to the political climate, but some people would point to things that have happened recently in washington, and they'd ask, "what on earth is going on?" 0ne i'm thinking of is your fellow republican congressmen putting out a video, a video animation in which a character with his face is seen killing — actually killing — the democrat congresswoman alexandria 0casio—cortez, at least a character with her face. that was reviled by many in america. it came to the floor of the house as a vote of censure. only two republicans actually censored your fellow republican, mr gosar, for that. you were not one of those two. why not? well, because i think what we need to deal with in congress is a whole different situation. they're taking paul's committee assignments away from him, and i think that's inappropriate.
we had a number of anti—semitic remarks from members on the left who did not lose their committee assignments, and i think that the hypocrisy of treating one member differently than others is great narrative for the speaker. but, you see, it comes to political culture, mr buck. donald trump, who is the most powerful person in your party, claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, which is plainly a lie. he claims that the real insurrection was actually the election result, rather than the assault on congress, which we saw onjanuary 6th, and he's called the people who launched that assault "lovely people." where do you, as a republican, stand on that? are you with mr trump who is now indulging in his big lie? or are you defending democracy? i have said that i don't believe that the election was stolen. i believe that while there were certain improprieties in the election, i didn't believe that they rose to the level of changing the end result in the election. i have a lot of problem with the discourse and the uncivil
nature of the discourse in washington, dc, and, frankly, across this country. i don't think that you can blame guns, on the one hand, for it, i don't think that you can blame a particular member of congress for that discourse. speaker pelosi stood behind the president during a state of the union address and millions of americans watched an address that's critical to our democracy that certainly isn't civil discourse, that certainly doesn't. .. right, congressman, ican... ..something not violent. right, i can assure you, congressman, we put tough questions to democrats and republicans on this show. the question for you as a republican is, if donald trump runs again — and one of his key advisers, jason miller, says it's 99% certainly he will — are you prepared to support a man, donald trump, who clearly has nothing but disdain and contempt for america's democratic system?
well, again, donald trump doesn't have disdain and contempt for america's political system. donald trump and you have a disagreement about something... forgive me, but i thought you agreed with me that his contention that the election result in 2020 was stolen is indeed a lie. i didn't say it was a lie. i said that i didn't agree with his decision. you're saying he's a liar. i'm not saying he's a liar. and that is a major difference between your view of what's going on and my view of what's going on. to answer your question, i will make a decision about who to support for the republican nomination and who to support from that point going forward, when we have a nominee for the republican party or we have people who have announced their candidacy. i'm not going to speculate on all the people that are going to run at this point and who i'm going to support. right. so, just to be clear —
and it is important — you do not believe that donald trump claiming the election was stolen is a lie? i don't believe that the election was stolen. i have said that. so one can only conclude you think trump insisting it was stolen is a lie? no. look, i was a prosecutor for 25 years. there's a whole lot of people out there that are getting information that's incorrect, and they draw conclusions on that information. that doesn't make that a lie. if the information he's getting is different than the information i'm getting and he's making a conclusion, there is a fundamental difference in the information and the conclusion that we draw. my conclusion is that the election was not stolen. his conclusion is that the election was stolen. i'm not going to start throwing around pejoratives and accusing a former president of the kind of conduct that you're willing to do. i'm not a journalist. a final point. the very well—known republican writer and thinker robert kagan has quit the party because of his disgust at donald trump, and he says that, "we are right now
in the midst of a massive american constitutional crisis." he says if donald trump runs again and if donald trump wins in 2024, "we could be looking at the destruction of american democracy." what's your view? i don't think we're looking at the destruction of american democracy. i think one of the issues that we have is that the left in this country have adopted socialist policies... ijust quoted to you a well—known republican thinker, not a leftist. can i finish my answer? sure. 0k. i think that the left has adopted socialist policies, they have adopted policies that are opposed to our veterans, opposed to our police, and most of america is upset about that. we saw a recent election in virginia where the republican candidate beat a former governor for the governor position. we see the shift in public opinion in this case in this country to the right, and we see it because of people rejecting
the policies of the left. i don't think that is a constitutional crisis. i think that if donald trump runs and if donald trump wins, it is because ofjoe biden�*s weakness, and it is because this country is not well served with the democrat party. congressman ken buck, we're sadly out of time, i thank you very much indeed forjoining me from colorado. thank you. hello there. after a spell of cold weather, the final day of november brought a return to something milder, something much milder,
in fact — westerly winds which fed a lot of cloud across the uk but brought temperatures of 12, 13 or 14 degrees in many places. away from the far north, cold air clung on across shetland and that cold air has been staging a return over recent houi’s. this area of low pressure has worked its way through. and that plunge of cold air will continue to take effect as we head through wednesday, the first day of december, the first day of the meteorological winter. and it will feel like it for many of us. there will be some spells of sunshine, but we'll see showers or longer spells of rain drifting southwards, some wintry weather mixing in over high ground, especially across the northern half of the uk. and if we do see any showers into northern scotland through the afternoon, they are likely to fall as snow to very low levels indeed. it will remain windy, particularly gusty winds around the coasts, gusts of a0 to 50 miles per hour and temperatures, if anything, coming down as the day goes on. so, afternoon values
between two and nine degrees. with that brisk wind, it will feel cold out there. now, through wednesday night, we will see some clear spells, some wintry showers, too. could see some snow to relatively low levels across parts of eastern england. certainly snow to low levels in the northern part of scotland and temperatures, well, they will drop very close to freezing, below freezing in places. a widespread frost and perhaps some icy stretches to contend with on thursday morning. still quite breezy to start thursday. still some wintry showers, particularly in the east. but this area of high pressure is going to be trying to build its way in, so that means we will see more in the way of dry weather. as we go through the day, the showers will become fewer and further between. there will be more dry weather, some spells of sunshine, although our next frontal system will be introducing cloud and some rain into northern ireland and the far west of scotland. a very chilly feeling day indeed, highs between three and nine degrees. and then another change in the weather as we move out of thursday into friday. some snow on its leading edge, but this will be introducing milder air once again
welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines.. test results from the netherlands suggest 0micron had spread globally before it was identified. mark meadows, donald trump's former chief of sstaff, agrees to appear at the investigation into the assault on the capitol building. and legendary singer and activistjosephine baker — the first black woman to be honoured with a place in the pantheon in paris.