tv PBS News Hour PBS August 16, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight. >> american troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves. judy: the taliban takeover -- afghanistan falls to insurgents, bringing a chaotic close to america's longest war. are in kabul and examine the wider fallout. then. disaster strikes again -- another major earthquake hits already-suffering haiti, leaving over 1000 dead and many more thousands injured. plus. political stakes -- tamara keith and amy walter consider what the
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. judy: afghanistan's government has fallen to islamist militants who make up the taliban -- and the frenzy for afghan citizens and diplomats trng to escape the country today reached a fever pitch. seven afghans died in a frantic scramble at the kabul airport. two of whom apparently fell after hanging on to the wheels of a u.s. cargo plane as it took off. ditional u.s. troops are on their way to help with evacuations -- 6,000 will soon be there -- as the taliban re-take power 20 years after the american invasion that deposed them. with the support of the pulitzer center, special correspondent jane ferguson is in kabul. jane: few images capture the frantic american withdrawal from afghanistan quite like this.
desperate and terrified afghans trying to stop a u.s. military plane from leaving. on sunday, crowds stormed the tarmac of the hamid karzai international airport, anxious to board one of e last commercial flightsut of the country. scenes like this quickly spread on social media across afghanistan and the world, a symbol of the u.s.'s disastrous withdrawal from the country after 20 years of war. cctv cameras filmed the massive crowds blocking the runway. as people rushed to the airport, trying to escape a sweeping taliban takeover, anger was palpable across the city and a sense of complete abandonment by the u.s. the crowds made it difficult throughout sunday and monday f evacuation flights of u.s. and other foreign embassy employees to take off, delaying chaotic -- fntic efforts to get diplomatic staff out of the country as the taliban moved into the capital. after top aides fanned out in defense of the president and the
withdrawal, and is pressure within his own party and on capitol hill mounted president , biden weighed in from the white house this afternoon. he again forcefully defended the withdrawal, but did not fully address his administration's role in the chaos on the ground. >> i stand squarely behind my decision. we were clear eyed about the risks and planned for every contingency, but i always promised the american people that i would be straight with you. the truth is this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated. jane: mr. biden say the blame for that truth lay with the afghan government and security forces. >> afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. the afghan military collapsed, sometimes without en trying to fight. if anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that ending u.s. military involvement in afghanistan now was the right decision. jane: the president said that
the u.s. has warned the taliban not to interfere with the evacuation. >> we have made it clear to the taliban, if they attack our personnel, we will defend our people with devastating force, if necessary. jane: back in kabul, the u.s. marines continue to try to secure the airport long enough for flights to make it out. from a nearby compound on monday, heavy gunfire could be heard throughout the day as security forces tried to disburse the crowds, even flying apache helicopters low to push them back from theunway. helicopters of accu -- evacuated u.s. and other international personnel in a constant roar across the city skies while , taliban fighters poured in, and afghanecurity forces started to move out. for those fleeing to the airport by road, both were present on sunday in the city streets for a moment, in an informal and surreal amnesty. the newshour arrived into kabul on sunday morning, just a few hours before the taliban entered
the city. afghan president ashraf ghani fled the country, saying, the taliban have one -- won, they did not win the legitimacy of their hearts. once busy secure compounds emptied out as foreigners fled too, caught unprepared by the speed of the taliban takeover of the country. on sunday night, the city braced for a change in power, something rarely peaceful and afghanistan. as the sunsets technically no , one is really in charge of this city. it is an extremely tense situation with a high level of risk for looting and lawlessness. on monday morning reports of , robberies and violence poured in, but so too did images of taliban checkpoints, claiming be present to simply maintain law and order. the deputy leader of the taliban , whose release from pakistani custody was organized in 2018 by
the trump administration to jumpstart talks, spoke from qatar. >> day by day, we will get involved in the service of our nation in providing them with , security and hope for their future. jane: but these people are not taking any chances. many of them are terrified the taliban will single them out as having worked with the u.s. and its allies in afghanistan. in recent months, president biden and his aides have pushed back against comparisons with vietnam when the u.s. drawdown precipitated the collapse of the south vietnamese government and a rapid evacuation of the u.s. embassy. >> there is going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the united states from afghanistan. it is not at all comparable. jane: given the scenes playing out in afghanistan right now, he may be correct. this could be much worse. judy: and jane joins me now from kabul. so, i know it is the middle of the night, but have you heard any reaction to president biden
speech today? jane: it is late here, so most people are hunkered down at home . the taliban implement a curfew in the city at this time. i don't think people are that surprised by biden's remarks because they have hrd him push criticism of the way this drawdown has happened. but i do think there will be a little bit ofhock about the criticm that has been leveled at afghan security forces,hose that have been considered america's allies throughout this, those who have taken huge casualty rates in recent years fighting the taliban. of course, he also alluded to the commander units, that they had been fighting particularly hard, but they also probably won't be too surprised at his criticism of the politicians. you hear the criticism much mor harshly here on the ground. the political leadership in afghanistan that essentially moved out. people feel very much so abandoned by their own political
leadership, as well as america. i thing one of the frustrations on the ground that people voice to us a lot is the argument has been shaped around this idea of whether america stays or goes, instead of really discussing how america goes. most people wanted this war to drawdown and they saw america withdrawing as an indicator that violence could be reduced and is a positive thing, but would people feel frustrated by is that there isn't a conversation as to what the strategy was for that drawdown, rather than simply just wheels up. judy: we saw a good deal of ts in your report just now, but give us more of a sense of what it has been like in these days that you have been in the country. jane: events have moved so quickly since my cameraman eric o'connor and i have arrived here. as we moved around the city one we first arrived, we saw afghan security forces basically disappear from the street. for a particular moment of time
that was quite frightenings for the resident of the citys, no one was in charge. there were rumors the taliban was in the city, but most of those fighters were on the outskirts until their commanders told them to move in. where we are right now is right by the airport. what we have been hearing today is heavy gunfire. just behind me is the airport. that gunfire, as you saw from our report, is something that has become necessary to get lanes in and out. we have seen more apache helicopters circling over the area. we know that just beyond here taliban checkpoints surround the airport, so it is extraordinarily tense here. you have thousands of american troops, afghan security forces, the only ones that we have seen remaining are present toward the entrance of the airport, and thousands of desperate civilians who keep arriving at the airport, even though flights are
barely coming and going. judy: we know from your many trips to afghanistan you have a lot of contact in kabul and around the country. what are you hearing? jane: almost everyone who gets in touch is trying to figure out whether they should leave, how they should leave, and if they were to stay, with a be trapped? there is a sense of no one really understanding what afghanistan after america looks like. people are terrified of the tensile retribution. they have been living through assassination campaigns. we have been reporting on this for quite some time. many of the people that we speak to don't take the taliban at its word, so they are extremely nervous about what their future is going to look like. they are also wondering, and this is especially linked to women, with the new rules are. what are the new parameters for life and afghanistan? women have not been getting any
explanation other than that they will get their full rights under sharia law. that does not give them any details at all. people are hunkered down and trying to figure out when it is safe to come out and what life is going to be like from here on in. judy: are you getting any sense from the taliban of what their intentions are in coming days? jane: we can see very clearly that the time a banner anxious to reassure people that they are inde the group that is law & order. that is their brand. that they can control the space, minimize the writing, that they can provide a sense of stability for citizens. they have been tweeting this, releasing statements. they are keen to put in a certain show in the city center of check points that encourage law & order. we know that they have gone to major hotels and some major installations to do things like check for which guns have been given government permits and
they have also made some announcements about government ministers, buthere have also been repts of abuses, the confiscation of cars, checkpoints that stop people from moving, and also a lot of harassment at the airport, of people trying to come and go. at the minute, it is very unclear how is will all shape up realistically as an actual government, but right now they are trying to reassure people that they can control and maintain order in the city. judy: interesting. jane ferguson reporting for us on the ground. we will be coming back to you frequently. please stay se, you and your team. thank you. jane: thank you, judy. judy: we turn now to our lisa desjardins covering president biden's response. lisa, inow you were looking, listening as the president made those remarks today. it was a determined speech. what stood out to you? lisa:
this was not a political speech. this was different than candidate biden. he was clear in saying this is my defense of what i've done, i admit that this happened more quickly than i thought. there was no messaging here. this was joe biden, someone who is a student of history. there was not however a really clear addressing of the major questions thatou heard just now from jane. why was there not a better plan for how the u.s. would pull back? and what is the u.s. culpability here? he can say that afghan forces collapsed, but the u.s. was supporting those forces. when the u.s. pulled out, was there really a plan for how they could get their own aircraft in the air? those things he did not answer. judy: you cover capitol hill 24/7. number of lawmakers are pushing back hard at the president. what are you hearing? lisa: this is an interesting moment. some democrats are defending the president and saying it was a good speech, he laid out a pro-america stance, a
pro-american forces stance, but even some democrats like senator mark warren say there are questions, and that we had intelligence that something like this might happen. from the republicans, blistering sharp pushback, some saying the president showing he is unfit with this. some like mitch mcconnell saying not only was this foreseeable, it was foreseen. but congress really can't do much except sit back and wait. they are on recess. expect briefings and questions down the road. but in the meantime, they are trying to get the people they know out of afghanistan as well. judy: the most urgent thing, as well as we watch what unfolds. thank you. we continue our look at the fall of afghanistan with retired army general hr mcmaster. he was the national security advisor to former president trump. he's now a senior fellow at stanford university's hoover institution. general mcmaster, thank you very much for joining us. the core argument from president
biden is that it was not in the interests of the united states to keep troops in afghanistan any longer, whether it was one month, a year, or 10 years. how do you respond to that? >> i think it is just wrong on a couple of counts. we were there to preserve and protect our own interests, our security interests. we know from historical experience that terrorist organizations, when they control territory and populations and resources, that they become orders of magnitude more dangerous. we saw that with theass murder attacks of 9/11. we saw it again when vice president biden thanked president obama for ending the war in iraq. words don't end when one party disengages. in iraq, we saw it morph into isis, the most destructive terrorist organization in history, and then we had to go back. what i found also that was fundamentally wrong about the president's approach here is that he thinks that a lost war
in afghanistan isn't going to have consequences. we are already seeing the horrible humanitarian consequences, but there will be severe political consequences in connection with our credibility with our allies and partners in other countries who will wonder how reliable we are. it will have big security implications in connection with jihadist terrorists who will declare victory over the world's only superpower. they did not defeat us. we defeated ourselves, judy, which is what is so sad. judy: i apologize for interrupting. i want to ask you abouthe terrorist threat. the president is saying this is coming from a number of countries right now one of the african continent, in libya, yemen, he named other countries, and that this is something the u.s. does not have to have boots on the ground to watch and to take care of. what about that argument? >> it is a pipe dream, judy. the way that we have made ourselves safe since 9/11 is by partnering with partners across the world who actually bear the
brunt of the fight against jihadist terrorists. the president disparaged afghan soldiers, but we should remember the tens o thousands of them that gave their lives to protect the freedoms that they have enjoyed since 2001, but also to protect us really from modern-day barbarians. afghanistan is in many ways on a modern-day frontier between barbarism and civilization. just right across the border, there are over 20 u.s. designated jihadist terrorist organizations. a victory for the taliban, a reestablishment of the islamic emirate of afghanistan, is a victory for al qaeda and those other gros. go ahead. judy: apologize for interrupting, but i do want to get in several more questions. one is the president repeatedly saying that afghan troops, how can you ask u.s. troops to fight for a country when the afghan troops themselves are giving up? >> well, if we think what led to
this collapse, it occurred across two administrations, the trump and the biden administrations, where we had this delusion that we could actually partner with the taliban against terrorists, when we were enabling a terrorist organization itself. this is the negotiations with the taliban political commission in hot. that was always a pipe dream. it was a key element of our self-delusion. then what we did is we delivered really tremendous psychological blows to the afghan people, afghan leaders, and afghan security forces on our way out. if we were going to leave, why didn'we just leave? why did we make concession after concession on our way out to force the afghan government to release 5000 of some of the most heinous people on earth, some of whom went right back to terrorism? right back to the battlefield, as we know. why did we not insist on a cease fire? judy: again, my apology.
some of those concessions came during former president trump's administration when you were there as national security advisor. i want to ask y -- >> i have to correct you on that. that was not when i was there as national security advisor. when i was there, i think the president put into place the only recent and sustainable approach we have had in afghanistan, but then he abandoned it. and you are correct. i'm not making partisan points. i'm saying that this is un-american catastrophe and it is a catastrophe -- an american catastrophe and it is a catastrophe that will have profound consequences. judy: general h.r. mcmaster, thank you very much for joining us, we appreciate it. >> judy, i just want to say that there is a lot more we can do now to stem this humanitarian disaster and i hope that the bided administration does more, provides safe passage, provide safe spaces to get more afghans out.
and i think that this is what all of us should demand of our leaders athis point. judy: general mcmaster, we appreciate it, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, judy. judy: and now for a different perspective, we turn to laurel miller. she was deputy and then acting u.s. special representative for afghanistan and pakistan from 2013 to 2017. she's now director of the asia program at the international crisis group. thank you very much for joining us. let me just turn to you with the arguments general -- former -- retired general mcmaster was making. and that is that this is not just a failure for the united states, it is going to lead to a strengthening of the very terrorist groups that the united states does not want to even think about being in our future. >> i think that that is really quite a speculative assessment. it is true that there is some
remaining al qaeda presence in afghanistan and it is true that there are connections and relationships between the taliban and those remaining al qaeda elements in afghanistan. what isn't clear is what is going to happen with them now. but the taliban has said, and i'm not saying i take this at face value, but what they have said as they will keep a lid on those terrorist elements in afghanistan. i think we can be assured that if they don't, that is the one thing that could bring the u.s. back involved in afghanistan militarily. the taliban also are reaching out to the regional powers who they are cultivating their relationships with. e tele-banner the government of afghanistan and those countries do not want to see a rebirth of the al qaeda threat. judy: your point being that the taliban are trying to establish alliances.
i do want to come back to another argument general mcmaster made, that this sends a signal of american weakness, that it sends a signal, whether it is to the chinese or the russians or others, that the u.s. is not a country that sticks with its original promises. >> look, i think the counter argument that is there were consequences for american credibility either way. if continuing to fight the war in afghanistan was not going to ever produce a victory over the taliban and instead produce only a slower defeat, then that is not good for american credibility either. it is not the case that the conflict was at some kind of sustainable steady-state. the u.s. was keeping its finger in the diet in afghanistan, but it was leaking already. for years now, the tele-band been getting territory and afghanistan has been running the
most deadly conflict in the world for years now. that is not a sustainable situation. judy: the argument that we are hearing from so many quarters right now, laurel miller, is that this administration should have anticipated the chaos that is taking place right now, that they were being told by their own intelligence sources, by sources at the defense department, and by allies that this kind of -- that there would be a situation like what we are seeing now, which could lead to a worsening humanitarian disaster. >> yes, i think there were two basic scenarios that many people projected, certainly from outside government, and i think probably from inside government as well. one was the possibility that after the american withdrawal, the afghan government resistance would be strong enough to achieve essentially a bloody stalemate, that you would have an intensified and protracted civil war. that was the best case scenario.
that is a scenario with a lot of humanitarian consequences, as well. the other main alternative was essentially what happened, rapid collapse. as president biden noted, no one expected the collapse to be as rapid as it was, but that is just a question of a short difference in time. nevertheless, that scenario was rapid collapse. i expect that the decision to withdraw was made knowing that those were e two most plausible scenarios. judy: just very quickly, we heard general mcmaster make the case that it is wrong, that it is unfair to put the blame on the afghan army because they never were supported by a government that was going to back them up. >> i think what i would partially agree with in that is that the afghan army was the army that the united states and nato built. if they had weaknesses, those were weaknesses -- and they did
-- they were weaknesses long known to the united states and nato partners whouilt that force. a lot of mistakes were made along the way. a lot of exaggerated ambitions that were never going to be realized. yes, you can blame them for not stepping up to the plate as president biden did, you can blame their political leaders for not providing the leadership gave these fighters cause fight for, but there is plenty of blame to go around here and a lot of it is attributable to the united states and how it went about building this army in afghanistan. judy: laurel miller with the international crisis group, thank you smuch for joining us. >> it was my pleasure to be with you. ♪ judy: in the day's her news. the death toll from saturday's 7.2 magnitude earthquake in
haiti soared to more than 1400 people. 6000 others were injured. the quake's epicenter was about 80 miles west of the capital, port-au-prince. rescue crews raced to extract survivors and victims from the rubble before tropical depression grace inundated the area with heavy rain. haiti's prime minister appealed for an organized humanitarian aid operation. >> in this crisis, we want more appropriate responses than those we received after the 2010 earthquake. all aid that will come from outside the country must go through civil protection. i do not want aid to arrive in a disorderly manner, where everyone decides what they want. judy: we will get the latest on the devastation in haiti right after the news summary. tropical storm fred regained strength with winds up to 65 miles per hour as it barreled into the florida gulf coast today. flooding was seen along the shoreline in saint george island
before the storm made its way into panama city. the national hurricane center warned of heavy rainfall and flash floods across southeastern states as it moves farther inland this week. on the pandemic. new york state will now require all health care workers -- including staff at long-term care facilities -- to be vaccinated against covid by september 27. that comes as new york city's vaccination mandate for indoor activities officially goes into effect tomorrow. mayor bill de blasio warned anyone using fake vaccination cards will face consequences. >> that literally could result in prison time as much as seven years. so i want people to understand thats not something to play around with. we are in the middle of a pandemic. the vaccination cards a pretty sacred document to tell us whose vaccinated and who is not. judy: meanwhile, the texas supreme court moved late sunday temporarily block a mask
mandate that was issued in two of its largest counties. infections have skyrocketed in the state in recent weeks. the biden administration is permanently boosng food stamp benefits by 25% over pre-pandemic levels. that's the largest single increase in the history of the supplemental nutrition assistance program, which helps provide healthy food for low-income families. the new increase goes into effect in october for all 42 million snap beneficiaries. nearly 15,000 structures in northern california are still under threat tonight by the dixie fire. more than 6000 firefighters are working to contain the month-old inferno, which is 31% contained. it is one of about wildfires 100 burning in more than a dozen western states -- fueled by hot, dry, gusty weather. for the first time ever, u.s. officials have declared a water shortage from the colorado river amid an historic drought.
the waterway serves around 40 million people in the west. the u.s. bureau of reclamation warned record-low water levels at the river's lake mead reservoir will trigger water allocation cuts to arizona, nevada, and mexico beginning in -- or new mexico, beginning in october. stocks were mixed on wall street today, as investors awaited major retail earnings reports this week. the dow jones industrial average gained 110 points to close at 35,625 -- a record closing high. the nasdaq fell 29 points. and the s&p 500 added 12 to also notch a record high. and, federal regulators are investigating tesla's automated driving system after a series of collisions with parked emergency vehicles at crash scenes. the national highway traffic safety administration identified 11 such incidents since 2018. one person dd and 17 others were injured.
the probe covers some 765,000 tesla vehicles from model years 2014 to 2021. still to come on the "newshour." how haiti faces another disaster, struggling amid the rubble. tamara keith and amy walter break down the political impact of the fall of the afghan government. and we sit down with secretary of interior deb haaland. ♪ >> this is "pbs newshour west" from weta studios in washington and from our bureau at the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. judy: as we have been reporting an earthquake has brought new , devastation to haiti. landslides have made major roads impassable for aid groups. now, hospitals in southern haiti are overwhelmed and forced to
turn people away. all as a tropical storm bears down on the nation. william brangham has the latest. lisa: saturdays --william: saturdays earthquake occurred on the very same fault lines as the 2010 earthquake that killed 300,000 people and destroyed much of haiti's capital port au , prince. today thousands are sheltering in the streets or on soccer fields, with the few belongings they could salvage from their homes. haitian authorities are still going door to door searching for survivors. the suffering could get worse later today, because tropical depression grace is expected to dump roughly 10 inches of rain on the country, which could trigger flash flooding and landslides. akim kikonda is the haiti country representative for catholic relief services, and he joins us from port-au-prince. i understand that you have staff in the big city that was closest to the epicenter of this quake.
can you give us a sense of what kinds of things they are seeing now? how bad is it? >> yes, thanks, william. so, the team is reporting a severely damaged and destroyed city. they are reporting houses that have been totally or partially destroyed, schools and churches and hotels, and even road infrastructure that has been severely impacted, so the situation is really bad. in terms of the population, they are suffering really a lot from the lack of everhing. they have lost their houses. they don't have drinking water. they don't have food. theyack everything, so the situation is really, really bad right now. >> we have been hearing reports of a growing death toll and
certainly authorities are trying to find people who might still be living. do you have a sense of the medical needs? are hospitals able to be open and help the wounded right now? >> yes, so the few hospitals that are still up and running have been overwhelmed due to the number of injuries. the search-and-rescue teams are still working, as you have said, going through the rubble and trying to find any survivors, if there are still any, or pull dead bodies from the rubble. william: is it your sense from the most pressing needs from a humanitarian point of view, is it food, shelter, tense, what is the most pressing need to do your jobs? >> shelter in the first place. people have lost their homes. those that are still standing have become unstable because of
cracks in the walls on those kind of things. and we have a storm hitting haiti today. it has actually started. and tomorrow. people are exposed to the elements, so shelter is a really pressing need. the second most pressing need would be for water and hygiene items, just to ensure that we control covid and also prevent some waterborne and transmittable diseases. thirdly, i would say food would be a very important and urgent need to meet because people have lost everything and we need to ensure that at least they have food to put on the table. william: we know that in the midst of all of this, haiti is also dealing with the vacuum created by the assassination of
the president. is it your sense that the government is able to organize as effective a response as it can given the leadership vacuum, given the devastation? >> yes, actually as you know haiti has been dealing with emergencies of this kind for quite some time, so the government really has developed a lot of schemes and capacities. the civil protection authority as a team that is doing itsest to coordinate the efforts of all humanitarians, trying to ensure that we do not have a repeat of what happened in 2010 where we had organizations coming from everywhere and dumping all kinds of shipments on the airport tarmac with very little coordination. so, the government is trying to ensure that we avoid those kinds
of disasters this time around. the government is doing a good job supporting the humanitarian response. william: that is good news in the midst of certainly a very awful tragedy. thank you very much for being with us from catholic relief services. >> thank you for having me. ♪ judy: the weight of the fall of afghanistan falls heavy on the white house. we look at president biden's response to the chaos with amy walter, editor-in-chief of the cook political report. and tamara kei, white house correspondent for npr. it is so good to see both of you on this monday, but the news, as we are reminding everybody, is very heavy. presiden are judged by moments like this. what do see from president biden
and how do you think he is going to be seen? >> what we heard, especially today, with a focus on the policy, the policy that for all intents and purposes seems to be popular, at least if you pulled the question, should america leave afghanistan? majority of americans say, yes, we should. americans long have disliked spending blood and treasure overseas. but if the question is how competently was it done? and this is a president who sold himself as someone who is going to come in and bring competency back to the oval office, was going to bring the adults back to the table, and on that front he failed. with the question will be going forward is where will americans continue to judge him? as somebody who put a policy forward that they liked, but the execution failed, or will the execution of it come less
salient the farther away we get from this? i think the most important thing for these next few weeks are the scenes that will be coming out of afghanistan, not just of the civilians, but of the troops being brought in, the american troops being brought in. if tragedy should befall any of them, the impact politically would be pretty significant. judy: the humanitarian consequences, everybody is looking to see what the toll is on this country. we are waiting to see. but it is always political season here in washington and in the minds of people who are thinking the democrats could suffer from this. reblicans could gain. >> certainly, and president biden in the way he is presenting this is that it is a binary choice, either in or out of afghanistan. some critics say that there should be a residual force that stays. many critics, including democrats and republicans, argue, sure, withdraw u.s.
troops, that's fine, but as amy says, people are arguing that the execution was quite flawed. as amy pointed out, this is an administration who came into be the people who could get it done, who know how to pull the levers of government to make government work. and it is not just afghanistan. right now, there is also a crisis at the border with the largest number of apprehensions at the border that have ever in history happened in the single month. that number just came out. they say it is some trump era policy that is part of the problem at the border. well, they are also blaming trump era policy for what is happening in afghanistan. at some point the presidency, the public stops buying that. >> and the president said toda the buck stops with me. he said it. judy: i will say, at a time the
country is dealing with covid, worried about the economy, is what happens in a country thousands of miles from here going to matter in the midrm elections? >> and foreign policy rarely registers with voters. even in a presidential campaign. but it is the imagery. i think that is going to be the question. i think back to the summers of other first-term presidents and what we remember from that. we think about president obama and it was the town halls. the health care town halls. the anger from constituents. think about president trump and what was happening in charlottesville, those images. some of them were impactful for the actual election, others of them sort of built the story about that president. it was a telling moment that may not be the definitive sort of issue in the campaign, but it sort of set the course for the
narrative of the president. judy: which is interesting when youth in about the president's speech today. we spoke about it with lisa, but this was about as determined as you have seen him talk about anything in his time in office. >> in a way, his tone and message on what should be done in afghanistan has not changed a single bit from the campaign to the presidency to the speech he delivered two months ago to the statement he made two weeks ago to what he is saying now. he is firm in his belief that this is the right action, but this is the right policy. behind the scenes, administration officials are saying, yes, we know that this happened far faster than they were expecting, but they insisted they were running tabletop exercises, they were planning for this scenario. i think what happens is in the next week or two, whether american lives are lost, whether the u.s. is able to keep its commitment to thousands of
afghans, that will determine -- we are just too early in the story to know where it ends and what the political applications are. judy: we are very early in and in the political cycle. >> absolutely. absolutely. but, the juxtaposition of the comments that the president made in july, just a month ago, to ya miche saying this is not going to be sain, and the images. those taken side-by-side are really powerful. it may not be the definitive issue, for sure, but that image is indelible. judy: and we will see. amy walter, tamera keith, thank you both. and we'll be back shortly with a conversation with secretary of the interior deb haaland. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station.
ndent nonprofit newsroom, kicks off its annual weeklong summit starting today. newshour is its streaming partner. our own lisa desjardins interviewed the secretary of interior deb haaland as part of 19th represents event. here's a sneak peak of some of that conversation. >> this country has had 580 cabinet agency heads. you are the first one, of all of those people to be native american, and the president of your tribe, when you were confirmed called it a defining moment not just for indigenous people in this country, but indigenous people across the world. can you talk about what you think this means for real change and then also what is it like to , be you both have blessings of being in a historic moment and if there are other moments, -- moments that that is a burden? >> well, of course, i feel there is always a weight that is on your shoulders when you're carrying essentially the hopes
and dreams of hundreds of years of, you know, a community's hopes that it hos and dreams. it is somewhat -- i tell you, i stand on the shoulders of so many native american who have come before me leaders i in so many respects. when i think about the native leaders who have who have given voice to the issues of their people through the centuries. so i feel confident in that respect that they have. they --hat they have made a path for me. >> i knothat you yourself as a just a descendant of some people who participated in the pueblo revolt, which is something i have to say i didn't learn about in school. i was not taught that in school. i want to ask you about this concept right now of expanding what we teach and talk about in history, especially about race. there is a lot of tension over that. i wonder what you think should
be the approach here, and also what you say particularly to white americans who say they're afraid that this is about shaming america, about saying they are racist every how do you respond, and what do you think we should be doing? >> i think what our country has taught us even over the last year or so is that our history is everyone's history. and we can't deny that. history doesn't change. however, we can choose not to learn about it, but i will say that native american street is american history. i feel very confidently that if we all take the time to learn about this history, as devastating and as sad and as traumatizing as it is, that we can shine a light on our past
and embrace a future that we can all be proud of. judy: that is just a part of lisa's conversation with the secretary of the interior. you can watch all of "19th represents" this week on our website, pbs.com/newshour -- pbs.org/newshour and on the newshour's youtube page. that is the newshour for tonight. please stay safe and we will see you soon. >> major funding has been provided by -- >> pediatric surgeon. volunteer. topiary artist. a raymondjames financial advisor taylor'advice to help you live your life. life well planned. >> consumer cellular. johnson & johnson.