tv Face the Nation CBS October 23, 2017 2:00am-2:31am PDT
>> dickerson: we continue our conversation with khizr khan, author of "an american family" before we get back to the book i just wanted to get what you were saying about general kelly. you were saying he engaged in the behavior he was criticizing. >> ? is american tradition that when military leaders retire they go home, collect their pension and they maintain the dignity that he have earned. in case of former general kelly he had -- i was shocked, i was shocked to see citizen kelly standing next to the president
when president could not have the proper word to condemn attack on the blessed city of charlottesville, virginia, by neonazis. he stood -- you could look at his face and his gesture in disgust, but he stood in support of that moment when donald trump could not condemn the attack that took place. then again instead of advising the president that restraint and dignity is the call of the moment, former general kelly indulged in defending behavior of the president and made the situation even worse. our political leaders elected by the people are deserve canning of equal digiti knee and equal respect instead of being maligned on misstated facts.
that was beyond the call of the moment. >> dickerson: we should note that you live in charlotte. i want to turn to the book now, you write in it that in your american story, there were many who were in america who were open and welcoming and gregarious. give us an example of that. >> when we first arrived, the very first day when we arrived my two sons arrived in houston we rented a $200 one-bedroom apartment. i was off loading the stuff from the car, we just closed the door after off-loading, there was a knock at the door. paul let, our neighbor, was holding two bags in her hand, that was the first gesture of american goodness that we experienced. she said, we brought this, you have two small children they may need something, they just arrived. after she left i looked at my
wife, i said all the values that i had dreamed of about america, about this country, the goodness of this country, the generosity, we had been touched by those values while working in dubai by americans, are true. we begin to fall in love. and that has continued not only in houston but in maryland, in virginia, every step the generosity, the kindness, the dignity that america grants. we are immigrants, we are patriotic immigrants. when immigrants become citizens the patriotism begins to come together by living by experiencing the goodness of this country. >> when you first -- you spoke at the democratic convention but when you used to carry a republican membership card. >> yes. i very well member the first
political participation i was not citizen then, was to go and listen to ronald reagan's speech in houston. i am very fond of his speech where he says about the city on the hill, the beacon of hope for the rest of the world. i was very much in support of his policies, his defining of the american values and we tell that story in detail in our book, and many other stories of how it all came together. i used to take my children to thomas jefferson's with other guests and i would ask them to read the inscriptions on the walls of thomas jefferson memorial. both of my children used to roll their eyes because i had taken them so many times there, built look what happens, patriotism begins to take root in the hearts and minds of people reading these values.
wrote an article, mentioned that in the book in detail those stories, the title of hess essay was democracy requires vigilance and sacrifice. you probably hear my voice raising when i say this, in these tumultuous times we all will be well served if we are vigilant. our democracy, our way of life, ourself governing is under attack. >> dickerson: let me -- describe for a moment the declaration of independence where you first read i you talked about jefferson, we'll bring his work on the table, what was that like? >> i was 22 years old in pakistan had taken a course in comparative study, among the materials the very first page was the declaration of independence. i looked at it, we come from an
asian country then from colonized part of the world, amazing, amazing document i read. is there a nation on earth that declares its independence? independence is given. independence is attained. it's politically argued and received. is there a nation. so that love affair started in 1972. i am still in awe of those 1338 words of the declaration of independence, implore all americans read it how we found understand blessed nation. >> dickerson: you have stepped boot political arena at the democratic convention, what has it been like since then? >> it has been journey of hope, bridge building, interfaith dialogue. standing with those who truly care for the values of this country. we will prevail. i have seen the hope and
aspiration in the eyes and in the hearts and in the minds of the people that i have dealt with throughout this nation. we are blessed to have all this, i remembered the moment, we explained that in the book in much more detail, when i became citizen of united states. i wish every american reads the oath of citizenship that i took. i had nothing when i went, human dignity terms, nothing when i went to take that oath. i came out blessed with all dignities that a human being aspires to have. that is a story that we write in the book. >> dickerson: thank you so much for being with us. we'll be right back. you? iti historyo well, because it tells us something powerful about progress: that whether times are good or bad, people and their ideas will continue to move the world forward. as long as they have someone to believe in them.
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i do like to save money... catch you on the flip, suckas! geico. because saving fifteen percent or more on car insurance is always a great answer. >> dickerson: for those looking for an exit from the escalating culture wars in the u.s. we want to look at one model, nate boyer served in iraq and afghanistan as a green beret was awarded the bronze star before playing for the seattle seahawks in 2015. last year, boyer wrote an open letter to colin kaepernick that encouraged cap irrelevant in this case to stand during the national anthem. as opposed to sitting out of respect for veterans. kaepernick wouldn't go that far but the two worked out compromise and kaepernick began to kneel instead of sitting. nate boyer joins froes austin, texas, welcome. i want to go back to that first letter you wrote, what inspired you and then how did you get in
this conversation with colin kaepernick? >> you know what inspired me was just -- it hurt. it hurt to see somebody protes protesting the flag and the anthem at least in my eyes that's what it was. it was somebody sort of protes protesting america and symbols that stand for these freedoms and all that, it was confusing to me. i didn't understand where that was coming from and it just hurt as a war fighter when you're going overseas and you're fighting for those that can't fight for themselves an fighting for all those freedoms that we have here and then to me, the way i perceived it was somebody was sort of sitting that out and not interested in that. and upset about those things that we were trying to provide. i just was hurt by that. so i wrote an open letter explaining my experiences, my relationships to the flag, why i stand, why i feel the way that i do. but instead of attacking or
telling him, you know, this is why you should stand it was more like, you know, i want to understand where you're coming from. why are you sitting. i don't know what it's like to be you. i've only had my experience so i'm just trying to empathize and understand through that letter, colin reached out we ended up having a sit down, face to face conversation which led to him taking a knee instead. it was powerful moment for me, i think for a lot of people to see two people that disagreed on the subject or topic that was pretty important to our country that we're able to work out some sort of compromise or at least have that conversation civilly. >> dickerson: a lot of people think that compromise, lot of people who share your views that inspired your letter don't think that compromise gets at it. they think it's still offensive and just the way you described. >> right. there is. everybody's got a different relationship to everything in our world. and things are perceived
different ways. what's interesting about the protest itself, whether it's sitting, kneeling, doesn't matter, even when a lot of these men are saying it's not about the military, it's not even about the anthem or the flag. they don't get to necessarily choose how people see it. how individuals perceive that. if somebody makes another hand gesture towards you that's offensive to you but they're saying, no, i'm not -- this is not what it means, this is not what -- not the point of what i'm doing right now it's not up to them how you take that and how you receive that. there's been issues with that. and, yes, people believe that kneeling is still offensive they have every right to believe that and feel that because that's what's great about our country. you can have those opinions, have those feelings and for me, i thought it was better. i thought kneeling was better. people kneel in our country to pray, when you propose to your wife you take a knee. out of respect.
so, i thought it was better. i want him to stand, i want everybody to stand for the anthem and feel that pride that i feel but i want them to do it because they want to do it, i don't want them to do it out of obligation. >> dickerson: i want to touch on something else you wrote about that when you returned home from service overseas you said you returned to a country that was so divided and so hateful, talk about that a little bit, that inspired your effort to try to find some ground here and is there any lesson for anyone else in that? >> yeah. it's a tough time to be back home in america. because we are so divided, we seem so angry and stirred up, we don't have these conversations we don't sit down with someone we disagree with and talk any more. we're on our cell phones and we're sharing stuff through social media or other platforms and it's just a constant attacking of one another. it's really frustrating as a soldier, i was in the army and going overseas and going to fight for our people here. then to come book to a nation
that's just angry at one another and, like, what happened recently with the four soldiers who lost their lives over there it didn't even really become a topic or something we talked about until we were discussing the president's involvement in the remarks all that. why aren't we honoring these guys before that even happens because we're so wrapped up whine is right and who is wrong in our country and everyone trying to turn each issue into this good versus evil instead of just trying to understand that we all have different experiences and we come from different places and that's what makes our country great that mixture of all those things. >> dickerson: thank you so much for sharing some time with us we'll be back in a moment with our panel. we're the generation that had it all.
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we came together to feed the world's children. we came together to protect them. and in this dangerous world, we have to keep on saving them, protecting them, caring for them even when we're gone. if we remember unicef in our will, we'll remember the children who desperately need our help, and we'll be the generation who left a better world for children. visit uniceflegacy.org. >> dickerson: we're back with our political panel. rich lowry said for of national review. jamelle bow we the "slate" magazine and cbs news political analyst, also joined by politico chief international affairs columnist, susan glasser and deputy managing editor for "time" magazine michael duffy. michael, start with you, where are we at the end of this week on this question of gold star
families and what's happened around it? >> to be continued for sure, no question that if president simply apologized -- after monday for maligning his predecessor for not calling or writing or whatever he accused barack obama of not doing, this whole thing might have gone away. instead we got a cascading series of missteps and mistakes that really took five days to go through. i don't think we're quite done. it also normally left the president with another week of sort of three steps back, one step forward. the chief of staff who took the job to sort of interpoise hill self between a president who doesn't have the -- all the protocols of doing this job down, may never. and potential disaster, by stepping into that space then make somebody mistakes of his own, kelly actually added to it, john kelly. it was week that just started
bad, got worse and i think left unanswered, a lot of questions, about what we're doing in the first place. >> dickerson: you wrote that this may be stupidest most unworthy controversy of the year. >> it's been the most distressing controversy of the year. and that's saying a lot. and this would be a better debate, maybe it wouldn't even be a debate at all if everyone could concede just a modicum of good intentions and good faith on the other side. it's clear that president trump's call with the widow, it landed the wrong way. but it's obvious to me he didn't do naomaliciously or callously, in fact there was video of the call with another widow of a soldier killed in afghanistan in april that was posted by the widow because she found it great comfort in this call. that call trumped is sympathetic, humane, he's warm. i think in this instance it's incumbent on him to be the big eer figure say, i did not mean
enany way to add to your distressf i did, i'm sorry i'll do anything to make it up to you. but that's obviously not the way he operates. >> dickerson: jamelle, there does seem to be lack of restraint here. these things end when somebody has chance to wallop they stop. on both sides, this is not just -- we can figure out who started this, but it's now turned into a regular old political fight. >> i think -- i agree with rich that this entire controversy is so small and silly. but i do think it reveals something important about the president which is that he cannot take responsibility for any mistakes he's made. from initial statement maligning his predecessors, that would have ended had he just said, i'm sorry that i said this, i was wrong. the widow's reaction, representative wilson's statement having just said this was my error, or i didn't mean it this way this would have
ended. at any single phase, the president can take responsibility for restrain from punching back. we see this time and time again throughout his presidency just like move away from controversy and scandal and sort of actually being president and doing the job of president, this inability to take responsibility for mistakes or to back down is disastrous. it is quality that has filled better presidents. >> she also in better world, congresswoman works have gone to john kelly privately they were very upset, anything you can do to make it right. instead show blows it opened joying her 15 minutes of fame over this family's distress which is disgusting in its own right. >> susan, let me ask you about the larger point kelly made this week but that also john mccain made, george w. bush made, president obama made this this dropping of standards. chief of staff kelly said whether it's religion or treatment of women or now this fight intruding on this sacred space.
just this cry this week from variety of report that's right standards have dropped totally. >> that's almost indisputable. i think, jamelle is right. we're not surprised donald trump behaved this way because it's very consistent with what we've seen from president trump throughout his -- he's in the going to back away from a fight if one is offered he encourages it. i think it's more surprise hang we saw from general kelly, we learned more. one of the things that's been apparent over the last couple of months that this underscored is that it remains donald trump's white house and not john kelly's white house even if he has imposed more discipline and more of a process. number two, perhaps we saw that general kelly this week shares more of donald trump's agenda than we realized. you talked about the standards dropping. i found general kelly's comment to be surprising and even puzzling that he would have brought up in the same commentary about this incident
with the gold star families, this notion that in the good old days, women were sacred and isn't it so tear table we get there, lot of people talk about irony of working for a president who has been accused of this kind of behavior. but to me, that issue, working for donald trump but there's also the question of, what's the good old days exactly is that what this america first is about, looking backward to some halls i don't know and almost myth impasse that was better. >> he could have been groping for an understanding of it. [ laughter ] but he's fumbling -- trying to touch on something that many other people were talking about. chief of staff was there to try to explain how signals were missed it. >> was classic damage control operation by white house chief of staff. he seemed politically naive i agree with you. he was also -- he's fundamentally a political
person. one of the speeches this week by mccain and bush about dropping of standard or loss of something else, it's an amazing week in this respect which is republican party have never been more dominant in american politics, never been more split wide open cracking apart. you have two of the most he is teamed fights, george w. bush and john mccain who has been reluctant to say anything since he left the oval he was come out this week actually encoded term, not very coded, criticized the trump white house and donald trump for his handling not only of his rhetoric but foreign policy and lot of other things. this was on top of mccain's rather remarkable, what do you call it, half-baked -- that party split, that's not words of war, that's war. that's happening at the same time that there are seemingly in control of everything. >> dickerson: yet rich was with mitch mcconnell.
>> least convincing bromance of all time donald trump and mitch mcconnell. there is a civil war in the republican party, the irony is it began before the election, it was papered over during the election and they won everything. at the national level, trump is still sort of trying to be the pivotal figure who can work with both sides. he likes steve bannon, he understands where he's upset, yet mitch mccome is his best friend trying to work with him on the hill. trump and lot of ways this leads to incoherence. he doesn't know whether he wants lamar alexander to cut a deal or wants to be at house freedom caucus who oppose that owe poach. >> it may speak to broader exhaustion of the traditional -- at least since reagan framework for republican politics. that you have republican party who actually look to government who with want sort of
assistance. he promised to defend medicaid, medicare, promised to defend social security. this is joined to sort of more traditional republican activist class, republican voters who want tax cuts, things like obamacare repealed. winning hasn't really done anything to sort of reconcile those differences whatsoever. >> dickerson: final 30 seconds. >> i have to say, i do agree with you but i'm struck by fact that foreseen more mccain, injury george w. bush, their speeches are about america's role in wld. thisó >> dickerson: we'll have to stand up say no. i'm afraid we're out of time.
>> dickerson: today we want to leave you with an unusual show of unity. that of all five former presidents, president jimmy carter, george her barred walker bush, bill clinton, george w. bush and barack obama. gathered last night at texas a&m university to raise money for hurricane victims. that's it for us today. we'll be back next week for "face the nation" i'm john dickerson.
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