tv Amanpour Company PBS January 10, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PST
. hello, everyone. welcome to "amanpour & company." here is what's coming up -- >> my fellow americans. >> trump makes a case for a border wall democrats say is full of holes. the impact of the shutdown mounts. what are the national security facts. former defense secretary and republican senator chuck hagel tells me. plus -- >> tumultuous times, america through the great lens-of-james baldwin. i speak with oscar winning director barry jenkins about if beal street could talk. and a new voice for that endangered species, the
political senator. stephanie murphy on why now is the right time to serve. uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & company." bee colman is synonymous with style. she brought a similar style to the river, with a destination inspired design for each ship. >> bookings available through your travel adviser. for more information, visit uniworld.com. >> additional support has been provided by rosalind p. walter, bernard and irene schwartz, sue and edgar wachenheim iii, the sheryl and phillip milstein family, judy and josh weston, jpb foundation and by
contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in london. security is deteriorating thanks to the government shutdown. that's what's in an internal e-mail by an official at the tsa, transportation security administration. publicly tsa insists security is strong. but hundreds of screeners across the country who aren't getting paid are simply calling in sick. and that is just a small piece of the very real crisis critics say the president has created to get funding for his border wall. no solution appears in sight. today the president said again he might end up declaring a national emergency to bypass congress and get that funding for that wall. >> we are all working together. i really believe democrats and republicans are working
together. i think that something will happen, i hope. otherwise we'll go about it in a different manner. i don't think we'll have to do that but you don't know. >> democrat nancy pelosi, now speaker of the house of representatives continues to stand her ground. here is what she said last night after the bretpresident's addre from the oval office. >> the fact is, the women and children at the border are not a security threat. they are a humanitarian challenge, a challenge that president trump's own cruel and counter-productive policies have only deepened. the fact is, president trump must stop holding american people hodge, stop manufacturing a crisis and must reopen the government. >> but the government is shut. it is the second longest shutdown in history and it comes amid two other escalating cri s crisis. in syria, the president pledged to immediately withdraw american troops is on hold as his own administration, and a key ally
turkey squabble over this move. add to all of this, it's been revealed special counsel robert mueller believes the former trump campaign manager paul manafort shared private campaign data and discussed ukraine policy with someone closely linked to russian intelligence. so what are we to make of all of this, and what are the facts. as a former republican senator and as defense secretary under the democratic president obama, chuck hagel has just about seen it all. he's joining me now from washington. secretary hagel, welcome to the program. >> thanks christiane. >> so let's start with what the president said again today, after not saying in his oval office address, he's saying maybe it's going to be necessary to declare a state of emergency to get that money. what do you think the odds of that are and what will actually that mean? >> well, first, the odds are not very good that he will get that
money for all the reasons i think most people understand. the bret and executive office is but one of three co-equal branches of government. all money is appropriated first through the congress. i think it's been made pretty clear by democratic leaders and some republicans, by the way, in the house and senate that they wanted to open the government first, which is a responsible thing to do, and then deal with this issue second. this is another example, i fear, of mr. trump's continued way to govern, distort, distract, divide. that's dangerously irresponsible at a time in the world when the world is so off balance and so combustible and volatile. so where this goes, i don't know. christiane, i was secretary of defense the last time we had a government shutdown, 19 days. it has consequences,
ramifications everywhere that ripple through our country. people, economy. it's a very dangerous thing to do. >> so let me ask you, because clearly the president has talked about, and he said, i will declare an emergency if i can't get a deal with people who are being unreasonable. so he's obviously saying that the democrats are being unreasonable. and if he capital get them to, you know, cave to his demands, he'll do the other thing. he said he'll get it from the military. as a former defense secretary, what impact will that have to take the money away from the military? >> legally he cannot do that, christiane. that money was appropriated for very specific reasons. first to the defense department budget. he can't do that without authorization from the congress, which i doubt he will get. he's playing a dangerous game here. i don't think he can win this game. the smart thing, responsible
thing to do is to open up our government, quit holding our government and our people hostage and all the consequences from that and pursue a compromise going forward. that's the way we do things in a democracy. this is not a one-way street. it's not a one-man show, which i don't think the president has quite under stood. >> let me ask you, because as a former republican senator, what will you say to the republican leadership in the senate right now, n now. senator mitch mckonlg, for instance. you see a number in the senate breaking away or voicing concern about this continued shutdown. what would you do? what would you advise the leadership of the republicans to do? >> i would advise to say to mitch mcconnell, who i know very well, mitch, let's understand what we are dealing with here.
first, why would we hold hostage the government of the united states and put everyone through pain needlessly with significant adverse consequences that ripple through our economy. second, let's take a mature look at the issues on border security. border security is essential. of course it is. it's critical. no one denies that. border security is only one part of immigration reform. it starts with a pathway towards citizenship. it's many dimensions. in 2005, the senate passed the immigration reform bill. it was my bill. it was hagel-martinez compromise. we got 65 votes, bipartisan votes. the house would never take it up, so it died. no conference. border security. how do we defend our border, all the different variations of that
issue need to be explored maturely. let's all get together and do what's right for this country. that's what i would say to the leader. >> i would get into the debate on immigration reform in a moment. first, the acts of physical border security, this is what the president said today from the oval office. this is what he said about walls. >> we've got to get the politics out of this and go back to common sense. they say it's a medieval solution, a wall. that's true. medieval because it worked then, and it works even better now. >> i mean, you know, he has a lot of supporters, the president. he has a base who believes in him. he has a solid 38, 39, 40% of the american people still behind him. that's what he believes. what are the facts on the wall? where do the illegal immigrants come from? where do the drugs and smugglers and things like this come from? >> well, you look at that 2,000 mile southern border we have, a
wall is not the answer or a large fence for all 2,000 miles of it. there are states rights issues, property rights issues, geography issues that get in the way of all that. partly a fence, which we have down there by the way, bush supported it, obama supported it, so we have miles and miles of fencing and some walls, so that's part of it. but there are other dimensions to it. illegal drugs, where do they come from, where do the problems come from in coming across our border. illegal drugs come more from commercial exchanges hidden in trucks that come across that border legally, by the way, and through the sea, through monitoring on our coast. we can't -- we only get about 25% of illegal drugs that come in, we think, by boat. so it isn't all the southern
border. the northern border has also some issues about who illegally comes in there. but the numbers that most recently provided by the state department show the numbers aren't anywhere near what the president is talking about as the people coming into this country and illegal problems of drugs and so on. a lot of the problem we have, the 11 or 12 million immigrants in this country who do not have a status, who never went back to their country after their visas were up, that's where most of the issue is with 11 or 12 million. >> actually i heard something extraordinary today, that a lot of the so-called illegal immigration is from overstaying visas. one congressman told a british outlet today that most of those who overstay are canadians coming from the north and not from the south. let me ask you this, look, many
people believe what president trump is doing is all politics and all reacting to his base. but equally others believe this issue of immigration is a deeply held personal conviction of his and of the people who he surrounded himself with, that they would like to go back to the days of america, halcion days when there weren't so many foreign born americans in the country. this is actually a precursor to restricting not illegal immigration only but legal migrati migration. do you believe that to be what's really behind this? >> well, i think that's part of what's behind this. there are a lot of people who believe what you said. the reality is, demographics in this country are moving in the direction by 2045, certainly by 2050, white caucasians in this country will be the min north.
that's just the reality. the immigrant population coming in from all over the world for 250 years of american history has enhanced america. it's made us all stronger. in fact, we all came into america. we're here because of that. i don't think we should fight that. i think we should welcome that. certainly it needs to be done legally. certainly our borders need to be protected and secured. that's not an issue. the president distorts that all the time. he gives figures that just aren't true. when you do that, the substance and centerpiece of the issue gets lost, because people veer off in the other direction. they chase things that just aren't real and are true. >> let's look further afield. again, the former defense secretary, you had to deal with
all sorts of issues, obviously, syria. what do you make of the back and forth, whiplash security policy that's gone around the last several days. first the president announces that troops will immediately come home. then there's a huge backlash bipartisan, and then it graduated. it will be in 120 days and now conditions based. where do you stand on this issue right now? >> first of all, i think the president really doesn't understand foreign policy, how it's made, interests, consequences, allies. and i think the proof of that is certainly in whatever his so-called syrian policy is. confusing at best, certainly chaotic. dangerous, especially in a chaotic part of the world. when you make a decision like he
did initially, and you make that decision via twitter, you do not consult your national security council, your experts, you don't consult allies, the consequences of that decision are astounding as he has found out the last two weeks. timing of it was terrible. we've got to find ways to find diplomatic solutions, work towards strategic objectives. using your military isn't going to fix that. we found that out after 18 years in afghanistan, 15 years in iraq. and unless you work toward that with allies, with the nations that are there, it will be a failure. he doesn't understand any of that. so he's had to retreat in that disastrous meeting -- meetings that the national security council adviser bolton had in
turkey were embarrassing for america. erdogan scolded him. erdogan wouldn't even talk to him. he was saying the things turkey must do in order for us to leave. well, america says, well, a country must do this before we leave somewhere, you've got to be very careful. that certainly smacks of arrogance and other dimensions of a foreign policy you do not want to have. so it's just dangerous, confusing. they have got to understand, they have got to find ways with allies to deal with these big issues. >> to be fair, it appears that john poltbolton was trying to m sure -- and correct me if i'm wrong -- by reading the riot act to turkey that they didn't go in and slaughter the turkish -- rather kurdish forces who have been america's strongest allies in fighting on the ground.
as you say, erdogan doesn't like to be told anything by anyone. this is what he says, we cannot accept the comments made by bolton in israel. bolton has made a big mistake. whoever thinks like this has also made a mistake. we will not compromise. that brings up a whole load of things you touched on. this administration policy and its relationship with its allies. what do you make of america's -- the status of america's global leadership right now? >> well, the status of americans globally leadership now is really nowhere. we have retreated in especially the commentary the president of the united states has had over his first two years in office. this america first, gives a speech to the united nations. america first. you're all free loaders he says to nato, to our allies. i'm going to revisit all of our
alliance relationships, our trade relationships. you've all taken advantage of us. it's a unilateralism in a multi-lateral world that is very, very dangerous. on turkey, your points about erdog erdogan. i last talked to erdogan when i was secretary of defense in 2014. i've known him since 2002 when i first met him, as the party swept into power. he said to me thing, he's said this constantly, we believe the kurds are our number one threat. you can disbelieve that, tell him they are not the number one threat, it's isis, however you want to do it. that's turkey's evaluation. what you have to do is work with turkey to find ways around that so you can protect the kurds and you can accomplish the things
you need accomplished. >> let me then to be absolutely spot on on this debate, the obama administration did not acquit itself heroically over syria. you were defense secretary in that administration. and as you very well know, there was a point, let's say 2012, or whatever, where the facts on the ground could have been changed and russia and iran would not have been the dominant power leading to assad's almost total victory. those are the facts. your administration did not do what it could have done. i want to ask you this at this point. a senior commander told me at the time, why would it not have been in america's strategic interest at that time to take out these people who could have fought with them or for them, take them next door into jordan, train them up not for six days or six weeks or six months and send them back to do this work.
your administration didn't do it. big mistake, right? here we are almost six years later. >> yes, it was a mistake. i think it was a big mistake. i think it was the biggest foreign policy mistake of the obama administration. we met for many months on this and had a decision agreed to, which the president had ordered a strike and then pulled it down. i think when we did that, that signaled to russia and other nations that, first of all, the president of the united states word is no good, and that's always dangerous. that signaled for the russians you can have syria. it was dangerous. as a matter of fact, when i left the pentagon in february 2015, one of the differences i had with the administration was over syria. i had written a memo that the "new york times" got ahold of, a
memo that kerry and susan rice and others in the administration saying we don't have a clear syrian policy. i was being hammered on it by our nato allies, by our middle east allies. what is your policy? what are you going to do? what are you trying to do? we just didn't have one. so the you're right. i think it was a fundamental mistake. >> and i guess the question there for you say the president can have it. trump said iran can have syria. we don't want it, we don't need it. the bottom line is, and i'll read you the stats, 48% of american support was drawn from syria, 33% oppose it. 56% of americans support bringing home half troops from afghanistan, only 26% oppose. so in that regard, the president has the people behind him. >> well, that's right. it's a pretty basic equation here, christiane.
americans do not support long wars, long drawnout wars, especially in a place like the middle east that i don't think has ever been as unstable and volatile and combustible as it is now. so afghanistan is close by. eighteen years in afghanistan. afghanistan is worse off today than it's ever been. the mistake that trump has made in my opinion is right when we're trying to work on a diplomatic solution, when we have a diplomatic representatives meeting with the taliban and others, try to find diplomatic solution, then he talks about with drawing troops, pulling troops out. that's not the time to talk about troop withdrawal. so i think americans are just fed up with it all. i think that's reflected in the congress. a lot of democrats and republicans feel the same way. i think trump makes it worse
with the timing and not giving the diplomatic effort and putting that in investment to try to find that solution. it will be an imperfect solution. i don't think we want to balkanize syria. i don't think we want to balkanize middle east where boundaries just don't matter and you have a little of this, a little of this, a little of this. that's what's dangerous. you'll never get rid of isis, for example, or al qaeda or a half dozen other terrorist groups with ayatollah kind of world. >> it's important to note that isis is not fully defeated, it's definitely on the back foot. the pentagon even said it is not defeated and it could come back. well, secretary hagel, thank you very much indeed for joining us. >> well, it's always a pleasure. thank you very much. >> thank you. now with all this turmoil, sometimes it's best to do it all in in love. who better to tell that tale
than the novelist james baldwin, whose exceptional work perfectly captured and critiqued america of his time, '50s, '60s. it is all relevant today. the director barry jenkins who won an academy award for his film moonlight has adapted the novel "if beale street could talk," another major contender. >> we've got to set them free. >> what brought you here. you trusted love this far, don't panic now. trust it all the way. >> barry jenkins joins me from new york. welcome to the program. >> thank you. thanks for having me. >> so look, we just showed a bit
of the trailer. even in the trailer, you can see sort of an exceptional lens on black experience in america. there's so much joy you focus on, there's love you focus on there's a certain naivete you focused on. what was it that made you want to adapt this particular baldwin novel. >> for me i've always been a big fan and admirer of mr. baldwin's work. he had quite a few voices he wrote in, two stood out, romance, romanticism, personal relationships and the other voice just as compassionate about pointing out systemic injustice. in this book, "if beale street could talk," twhos stories are fused. >> they are perfectly fused. tish is the young girl. her boyfriend, they have known each other since they were little children. they grew up with this sweet and
wonderful love. then he is framed for a rape he didn't do, his family is trying to get him out of jail for. here is this moment. we want to play a lengthy clib of tish's family telling the family she's actually pregnant. >> it's coming. >> a grandchild. i don't understand you. it's your grandchild. what difference does it make how it gets here. doesn't have nothing to do with that. ain't none of us got nothing to do with that. >> that child, that child, that
chi child. >> take it with you. >> it is such a remarkable scene and such a remarkable event for a family to stick up so dramatically for their up wed pregnant daughter and to kick the other one out of the house. tell me what you were saying about the african-american family in that scene. >> you know, for one, you know, it's taken directly from the source material. so mr. baldwin brings these two families together in the novel. i felt like that scene was so powerful on the page, it would be just as powerful on the screen. i think for me it was a few different things. one in particular is, you know, we have eight, you know, black adults sitting in a living room confronted with the same situation. we assume that black people are
a monolith and they all think the same way and respond to the same stimulus in the same way. i think in the sequence we see these two families from the same place and the same time take very different approaches how to deal with this situation and circumstance. for me as a director, i love getting into the nuance of interpersonal relationships. i think regina king in that clip and ellis do such a great job as two black mothers responding in different ways that have as much to say about people as it does the situation in front of them. >> regina king we did point out did win a golden globe as best supporting actress. remarkable and her speech was remarkable, too. she actually said something -- as a producer, gosh, i'm going to get it everything wrong here, in the next two years everything i produce, it's going to be
tough, to make sure everything i produce is 50% women. i challenge anyone out there in a position of power to do the same. taking on women in film today, the post #metoo environment as well, what do you make of that challenge? is that something you would take up? >> yeah, yeah, my company pastel agrees with regina's mandate. we've undertaken it ourself. they make up half the audience, half the population. at sundance this year they will make up half the directors in competition yet they somehow end up making 4% of studio directors. how do we get 4 percent to 8% to 12%, it's been creating mandates like regina stated. aja dubonnet, the first black woman to win the directing prize at the sundance festival she started a show, queen sugar, she made the mandate every director of the series would be a woman. the women who directed on queen sugar have now gone on to direct
episodes of other television shows and created their own television shows. clearly they have the aptitude, the talent but did not have the access. i think regina's mandate is about creating access because the people are there. >> even frances mcdormand when she won her last oscar talked about inclusion mandates. so you're getting a lot of support from a lot of corners. i wonder whether you think this explosion in diversity is real and here to stay. you mentioned dubonnet, ""a wrinkle in time", steve mcqueen's widows, boots riley, sorry to bother you, "black panther," all these films making so many waves over the last year or so. >> i think it takes a multi-prong approach. we have to look at things over the duration of time. we've had these moments, dw diversity and inclusion over the last decades but they are reduced to moments. they are not an actual process. i think right now we're trying to build a process. that's why i use aja, that show
queen sugar, 30 episodes directed by women, particularly women are 10% of television directors. so i think by creating a fertile ground where these directors who have typically been excluded can be included to prove they can do the same work as their counterparts, i think that's the way we have continual process that comes a direction not necessarily a destination. happened in the u.s. with voters rights laws we assumed we didn't need in 2000, 2001. now we realize taking some of those laws off the books have had very adverse effects. >> barry, it is almost extraordinary for us to be able to compute that this -- you yourself talk about a really unpleasant racial epithet hurled at you or discussed about you even at the height of your
moonlight success. you were at your height as a director and you were insulted. >> it's a reality of life. look, 90% or 99% of the population going around hurling racial slurs? no, of course not. but i do think these things still occur. if they can occur to someone like me in the situation it did, i can't imagine it happens to someone working a shift at mcdonald's. or to a woman who was making her way into a fortune 500 company. how do you rise through the ranks when so much of this passive aggression is hurled against you. >> let me ask you about the topic, you've talked about women. also you talk about black male masculinity. you did, black male masculinitm. you did it in "moonlight" young boy, man growing up, mother was a crackhead. the first time that character has been so portrayed.
again here in "if beale street could talk," the quintessential love and goodness that the male character fonny displayed even as he was being radar, framed for this crime he did not commit, these are very special important trails. >> i had the honor of adapting amazing honors. wrote the play moonlight is based on and james baldwin is a genius, period. in a way i'm cheating. i think between myself and actors we're looking to basically reflect the world that we see. black men have innocence and tenderness in their hearts but we rarely see that innocence and tenderness rendered in mass media. i think for us when we're making these films just about reflecting the characters we see in our every day lives. brian henry, stephan james, a very warm, amazing young men and
they bring part of themselves to the roles. what i love about the job, getting to show all the multitudes of blackness. working from this book by james baldwin about multitudes, we can speak to the light and darkness of this particular aspect of the black experience. >> look, i mean look, you're being modest in a way. yes, you are standing on the shoulders of these great writers, but it's your choice to make these films. particularly to make them in the cinematography, cinematic way you do, the characters, you have them look straight into the lens. describe the choices you make when you say shoot. >> you know, part of it for me is, i think literature is a very powerful tool. when you read a book, everything is activated. the author describes the smell.
you have what it smells like in your head, the dialogue, everything activated in your head. watching a film can be a passive experience until you have to look someone directly in the eye. very rarely do those moments when people are talking. sometimes the actor and character just fuse and become one. dience to walk a mile in the main character's shoes. one of the actors in the film, kiki layne, one of the first times in a film, she described it as an uncomfortable process, what i'm doing now, looking into the monitor here. acting is giving and receiving. particularly in a scene, one actor gives and one receives and they give back. when we direct actor moments, the actor is looking directly into the camera and nothing is given back will until sitting in the audience. now the actor is giving and the audience member is receiving and i have to think they give
somethinging back. for now passive empathy has been turned into active empathy. whether you give it to yourself or audience member, i don't care who you give it to, i just want the direct engagement. that's why we do these moments. >> on a larger level, are you trying to build? engagement between different elements of society, at a time when everything is so polarized, not to mention enduring racism. >> i believe so. i think it's one of the reasons i gravitated toward this book. if i were to go to a desert island i wouldn't take any films with me because it wasn't about me. i think a film is meant to be shared. i also feel like in this novel mr. baldwin is unpacking so many things. i think it's implicating all of us in a certain way. fonny is falsely accused of a crime he didn't commute. he's not falsely accused -- he was placed in a line by an officer who decided to manipulate the system. because of that they have been
disenfranchised, truth or justice isn't what is at stake, not what they are trying to arrive at. mr. baldwin points out some many things. making the film, i hope we can raise a mirror, the systems we engage in, elections, the way you vote, all these things in a certain way, if they are not serving us, who are they serving. ultimately we are all being disenfranchised at some level. >> i couldn't believe it when i read that you wrote both "moonlight" and "if beal street" during a six-week period while you were in europe. that's unbelievable. >> i've tried to replicate it. for me now it's unbelievable. i can't conjure that magic again. i was at a point in my life where i hadn't done very much. it had been a while since i had been creatively activated. emulating james baldwin, i decided to go to europe and somehow over the course of six weeks i wrote the first draft of moonlight and this adaptation of
"if beale street could talk." i didn't have the rights to the novel when i adapted it, i don't recommend i. sometimes you have to put good energy into the world and the world responds. >> how did they respond? i've only got a few seconds. how long did it take for you to get the rights? >> about four years. >> all right. well, good luck, as i said, as a contender for all the awards. well done at the golden globe. we'll keep watching your work. thank you, barry. and just a quick note, tomorrow i'll be speaking to another celebrated director and that is spike lee. his new film, "blackkklansman" is based on the incredible true story of how a black police officer infiltrated the ku klux klan. >> for you it's a crusade, for me it's a job. >> you're jewish. >> doesn't that piss you off. >> you're taking this lie detector test. >> why do you act like you don't have skin in the game. >> i'm telling you, a war is acoming. >> black power.
>> knights of the can you cluck clan. >> that's us, stalwart brothers. >> we're on a role, baby. >> that is tomorrow. but first our next guest perfectly illustrates the american dream. stephanie murphy was brought to the united states as a baby when her family fled communist controlled vietnam. in 2016 she became the first vietnamese american congresswoman paving the way for diversity for the new generation of the party. as she enters the second term she told our michelle martin the u.s.-mexico border should only be one factor in the conversation about immigration. >> congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me on the show. >> i'd like to talk about your personal story if it's okay. i understand you came to the u.s. when you were just six-month-old with your parents. obviously you had to be rescued at sea. you were a baby, so you don't
remember but i do wonder what, if anything, your parents told you about the journey. >> in the aftermath of the vietnam war, my parents were persecuted by the vietnamese government because they had been affiliated with the u.s. military and south vietnam meese m's government. they didn't think they could raise a baby and 8-year-old boy in this country, where they wanted for us freedom and opportunities and they feared for their lives. they got on a boat in the dead of night and escaped vietnam by sea. when we got to international waters, we ran out of fuel. while we were dangerously adrift, a u.s. navy ship responded to our s.o.s. call and refueled us and supplied us and enabled us to make it to a camp and from there a church sponsored our path to the united states where from there we became melbourne citizens. >> what do you think your origin story as an american, sfu don't
mind me calling it that, what do you think that had on you. >> certainly my experience and my family's experience, the ability to receive both the power and generosity that defines america has shaped my life and it makes me deeply patriotic and deeply grateful to the country will it's the rope why after 9/11 i left my private sector job and went to work at the department of defense. part of the reason why when i saw this country heading in a direction i didn't recognize, rhetoric that didn't comport with the america i knew i left my private sector job and decided to run for office. >> what was your eureka moment in 2017 when you said not just somebody needs to do something about this, but it's got to be me, i'm the one that's got to do something about this. what was that moment like for you? >> in 2017 there was so much hateful rhetoric in the country. government didn't seem to be
serving the people anymore. i was uncomfortable with it. but it was really the -- on june 12th of 2016 when a gunman walked into a nightclub in my community and took the lives of 49 innocent civilians that i decided, you know, something had to be done. when i found the representative from my community had taken a check from the nra just two days after the nightclub shooting, i decided to launch a long shot campaign against this 24-year republican incumbent. a lot of people told me that i was crazy, but i think there's a fine line between brave and crazy. >> it's funny. a lot of people say your campaign in 2016 was something of the template for a number of the women who ran in 2018. so what do you think were the factors that led to your victory? >> i think it was a template because it opened the party's eyes to the idea that you could get somebody who had never run
for public office before, but who had made commitments in their life to serving their communities and had rich life experience to bring to the job and came at it with an authentic voice. and i was really grateful to see how many women they recruited for the 2018 and how many of them have become victorious and will be joined -- and have joined me here in congress. >> and now you are the head of something called the blue dog coalition. you're one of the co-chairs, but you are the leader. could you describe what this is for people who don't know. a lot of people think of blue dogs as conservative, white, southern men who are trying to preserve a certain place in the democratic party. so what does the blue dog stand for now? >> blue dogs have changed over the years, and this certainly isn't your 1990s blue dogs anymore. it's not your 2006 blue dogs either. even though our caucus has
changed over the years, we are still unified behind two principles. the first one is fiscal responsibility, and the second one is a strong national security. i think at this moment in time where we see $20 trillion debt and fiscal irresponsibility by the republicans, there's a real place for democratic voices to make sure that we are keeping our fiscal house in order so we're not mortgaging the future of our kids and that we aren't undermining our national security or our promise to our seniors. then on the national security front, coming out of the executive office we see a lot of happen hazard and often hasty national security policy as well as trade policy and foreign policy. and it's a moment for congress, i believe, to exercise its article 1 authorities as co-equal branch of government and begin to check some of these behaviors to ensure we are safe here at home and that we are
strong abroad. >> so fiscal responsibility as strong national defense. let's drill down. what does that actually mean in the current environment? >> right now the interest payment to the debt is the third largest payment. that undermines our ability to invest in our national security. it undermines our ability to fulfill our promises to our seniors. it undermines our ability to invest in our infrastructure and all of these things that are so important in this country. so we need to make sure we are taking care of that, lest it create a future that's unstable. a smart and strong national security, it's a smart and strong national security where we partner with our allies and not emboldening our adversaries. unfortunately a lot of the actions you're seeing out of the white house are doing that. let's talk about domestic policy. in part because many of the people in the freshman class who
have joined your ranks are people -- a lot of people who have gotten a lot of attention are people who are validly -- well, they will say they are socialists. they believe in very different things. they believe in different taxation policies. they believe in investments in things like, you know, services, health care, infrastructure. how are you going to work with this group? >> let me first say that i think one of the strongest points about the democratic caucus is we're a broad caucus. we have lots of diverse ideas and passionate individuals and that makes for a better caucus, better debate on the issues and for a better country. i'm focused on making sure that in this divided government where we have a republican held senate and a republican white house that we advance poll tice that address the issues facing my constituents today. the cost of health care, rising cost of housing and education, all of these things. that we advance legislation that
addresses those issues today. we're a nation of laws. the only things that really matter are the ideas that actually become law. >> okay. but one of your colleagues, one of the colleagues that has gotten a great deal of attention, alexandria ocasio-cortez said she believes in higher marginal tax rates on highest income citizens, highest income tax players. people are distorting what this means for their purposes. as a small business person yourself, it doesn't mean taxing -- it doesn't mean taxing every dollar at the highest tax rate but the highest taxpayers at a higher marginal rate. is that something you would consider? >> i think it's really important that all of these voices are heard. certainly her voice is an important voice but it's one of many of the democratic caucus. what the tax rates should be is a debate that we should have. i know for certain the republican tax cut that gave tax cuts to the wealthiest among us
and to the largest corporations and blew a giant hole, i'm working hard to figure out what is the right level of in insuring that we have revenues that will allow us to make the outlays that are so incredibly important to the future of this country. >> is it true also that you invented and hold a patent for a design of -- let me get this right -- softball pants or baseball pants? is that true, you did he signed them and hold a patent for them? >> that is true. i think it's a reflection of one of the things that's great about america. it's about innovation. i bumped into a problem where women's softball pants were men's baseball pants shrunken and made pink. that really doesn't accommodate for the body shape of a woman.
i redesigned the pant in collaboration with my husband, and we were able to secure a design patent on it. but i think that's a reflection of a broader narrative about america where you run into a problem and then you find ways to innovate a better solution for it. i certainly take that approach to legislating, trying to find innovative solutions to move this country forward. >> one of the reasons i brought that up is your story is so compelling, yet there are so many people who believe that the system no longer works for them, that the path that you took, education, owning a small business, there are many, many people in this country who believe those paths are either closed to them or they don't work for them anymore. i wonder what is your message to people who feel that way, especially younger people? >> well, i think that's one of the most dangerous and destabilizing things to our democracy when our constituents no longer believe in government
and in government's ability to serve their needs. our democracy depends on engaged citizens. when they become disenchanted they tend to disengage. that's why it's so important to engage with this next generation, to listen to the issues that uniquely affect them and then to find ways to create pathways so that the american dream is still achievable. and that's definitely my focus. >> to that end, you also belong to something called the future forum. what do you hope to do with this group, which has added to the group in congress as well. >> i'm really proud to be one of the co-chairs for future forum, which is a group of 50 of the youngest members of congress. so what we've done is we've gone out across this country under the leadership of eric fallwell over the last four years and visited 50 different locations. we'll continue to do these
things. we meet young people where they are in coffee shops, on college campuses, in their communities and we listen to them. we bring their messages back to congress and amplify their voices and seek to find ways to address their issues through legislation. one of the initiatives this congress that future forum has engaged on that i'm really particularly proud of is the automatic voter registration. we were able to get it into the hr 1. what's so important about automatic voter registration is it makes it easy for american citizens to be registered to vote and to participate in their democracy. that's incredibly important that the generation that's used to instantaneous needs met on their smartphones also expects an easier route to being able to vote and participate in their democracy. >> you've been in congress one
term and this is your second term. i have to ask you if you feel in any way a divide between you and a number of your younger colleagues and some of your colleagues who have been thereto a while. specifically in the democratic caucus. do you feel a divide? do you feel is there a generation gap in the democratic par party? >> i think the combination of more mature voices with younger voices is a good thing for our caucus and for our government. i also think there are core competen competencies, they have grown up as digital natives and can bring tech fluency, scaffolding of what our infrastructure should look like in this country. i think that's an administrative thing. >> okay. but are they listening to you is the question. >> i think in congress there are
45 -- at least in the house there are 435 distinct voices. i think when you work hard and you're willing to find folks across the aisle and advance inside, it's impossible to be ignored. >> while i have you, i to want to ask you about the government shutdown. what are your constituents telling you about this? >> my constituents are suffering the unnecessary political drama the republicans and president have put up over a political symbol of national security that lacks the real conversation around how we secure our borders. so i have constituents who are worried about their next paycheck. it's the utmost irresponsible thing for them to be held hostage to this political brinkmanship. >> i am curious if you think, you are at all concerned you may be right on the substance but
wrong on the politics. the fact is the president's argument is simple, border wall good, border wall equals national security. i wonder whether you think the president play be wrong on the facts but he has a compelling argument for the public. at the end of the day they will blame the democrats for keeping the government closed and not giving the president what he wants. >> as a former national security specialist and somebody who lives in orlando, which is one of the busiest airports in the country as well as in the state of florida which has thousands of miles of coastline, i understand that border security is more than just the southwest border wall. so what i would like to do is for us to reopen government, have an honest conversation about how we address border security recognizing it is only one factor in an overall conversation that must be having this country with comprehensive immigration reform. we need to address this issue not just through the southwest
border wall but through reform of our visa systems and through finding pathways for status for undocumented individuals who are currently living in the country as well as ensuring border security all across this country. >> congresswoman stephanie murphy, democrat from florida. thank you so much for talking with us. i hope we talk again. >> i look forward to it. thank you very much. of course a comprehensive immigration solution is vitally needed but debate is still far out of sight as the shutdown continues. that's it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour & company" on pbs and join us again tomorrow night. uniworld is a proud sponsor of
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