tv PBS News Hour PBS September 2, 2019 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by lnewshour productioc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: the coming storm. hurricane dorian lays siege to the bahamas as it continues its journey closer to the u.s. mainland. then, former secretary of fense james mattis, on leadership, the role of the military and his work in the trump administration. >> george washington, the father of our country, i think put it very well. how you have to listen, learn, help, and then lead. that was his approach and it's one that's served me well.f: >> woodrlus, parliament, the prime minister, and the protests in the reet.
outrage in the united kingm as no-deal brexit looms. >> i think this is a british coup. it's very polite, it's very unassuming, and that's the worst ing, it's very quiet.ry >> woodruff: a that and more on tonig's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our enomy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
>> financial services firm raymond james. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, advancing eas and supporting institutions to promote a better world. at www.hewlett.org.nd >>ith the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> woodruff: hurricane dorian pummeled theahamas today, andding to several death what was called catastrophic damage. officials confirmed at least five people died in the abaco lands. and there are many reports of people in serighs distress to and the prime minister of theth bahamas call the storm "a historic tragedy". the damage was alson the minds of federal, state and local leaders in the u.s. as preparations continued for possible landfall th week. john yang reports from florida. >> yang: hurricane dorian carved a slow, destructive path across the bahamas today. it made landfall yesterday withd exceeding 185 miles per hour-- a category 5 storm-- the strongest on record to strike the island nation. dorian weakened to a category 4 storm this morning but continued lashing the bahamas. the winds rocked trees. torrential rains triggered
massive flooding. >> some areas you can't tell the difference as to the beginning of the strt versus where the ocean begins. >> yang: the current forecast envisions dorian moving dangerously close tohe southeaster u.s. seaboard, tonight through weyeast coast evenin its expected to pass near the carolinas, where states of emergency have now been declared. even a minor deviation could send dorian on shore but if it doesn't make landfall it still has the potential to dp major damage. florida governor ron desantis. >> hurricane dorian has shown what it is capable of, it's absolutely batred the bahamas. our east coast is certainly within the cone still d peoplere need to in vilant, if you're ordered to evacuate you need to do that. >> yang: at the good samaritan society'retirement community
in kissimmee, outside orlando, a fleet of ambulances tran sis facility on higher ground.e mmunity was flooded after hurricane irma in 2017. throughout florida, past experiences are shaping residents' responses throughout ivette alsina of winter haven, south of sandbags, and other emergency supplies you got everything ready here, you're prepared. >> yeah, almost prepared. i think i've got everything. i got the batteries, flashlight, a first aid kit. i got food, water, everything is set. tens of thousands of puerto ricansho moved to florida after surviving 2017's hurricana a. how did you feel when you ards of trricane and that it might be coming towards florida? >> yang: anxiety? anxiety. >> yes, because it's really bad. i was in puerto rico when maria
passed, and thinking that that is coming here now is really bad. >> yang: she evacuated from cayey, puerto rico, 10 days after maria to get treatment for high blood pressure.wa storings this week have put her back on high alert. >> three days ago i rtnt to the doctor. he gave me a lot of medicines so i can be calm through these days. >> yang: other puerto ricans in the area are also feeling tense. >> ( translated ): i'm not the only one. i've received a lot of callsrt from pueo rican families whobe ended up hercause of maria. they're in critical nervous states. >> yang: millie santiago is another survivor of hurricane maria. she's helping 22 families staying an episcopal church orlando, where mental health counselors are on hand. yemanja krasnow is a university of central florida clinician and social worker. >> a lot of the puerto ricansic that came to central florida
post-maria they had some very traumatic experience, it wasn'tt ju storm, there was lo of live, of house, of pets, of businesses so there was a compound of trauma going on, not just the experience of the hurricane itself. >> yang: in jacksonville, restaurant owner andy zarka is preparing for the possneility his bu might end up underwater, as it did during hurricane irma. >> they told us two years ago that irma was a once in a lifetime storm, now here we are two years later and we're getting ready for what could be irma 2.0 >> yang: on jacksonville beach, day while considering their next steps. >> we are going to take our time on making a decibuon to leave. specially having children, i don't want to make bad decisions. >> yang: others took advantage of the high waves dorian churned
up. but few expect the calm to last long.m the winds and the waves are already picking up at jacksonville beach, even thoughr the brunt of ane dorian won't be feld for another 48 r s or so. orlando airport announced it was suspending operations overnight tonight which means every major airport on the eastern side f florida from west palm beach dao ona beach is now closed. judy, even if dorian doesn't make landfall, it doesn't mean there won't be damage. the track it's forecast to fake is very similar to hurricane matthew in 2016. that storm, too, stad off the coast, never made landfall all the way to north carolina. it caused about $3 billion of damand claimed 12 lives. judy? >> woodruff: and we remember that well. so, john, you were hnlling usyo have been talking to a lot of people there in florida about the decisions they're
investigatmake about whether to go, whether to stay. tell us a little bit about what >> reporter: well, you know, this hurricane has been sort of on the news and in t headlines for about a week now. they started talking about it last monday. the good news is that's giv a lot of people a lot of time to plan. the bad news, it's also give an t of people time to woe ry and anxiety levels are high. but i thought that, perhaps, with the storm taking solong to get here, wit slowing down over the bahamas so ch, that e people mightopbecome complacent. but the people i've talked to say they know what storms can do. this is the -- would-be the eighth major hurricane to hit florida nce 2000. a lot of people say they know what storms can do, they respece their and they also point to andrew, the storm in 12 that did about $27 billion worth of damage, killed 65. they say, since then, they take
every storm seriously. >> woodruff: a, john, they are now issuing, what, evacuation orders in georgia and in the carolinas.ha >> reporter:s right, up and down the coast, low-lng coastal counties -- actually, all the countong the coast have mandatory evacuation orders in place. in south carolina, they've begun contraow, all the interstates going into charleston, all the traffic is oubound from charleston to columbia oubound, and the other parts of the states, the interstat adading out of charleston. you can't get into charleston, they want people to. lea >> woodruff: even with this hurricane still sitting over the bahamas, so much havoc, it is east coast.ating up and down the john yang reporting for us tonight from jacksonville beach. thank you, john. back in the >> woodruf back in the bahamas, hurricane dorian spent much of the day lashing grand
bahama and other islands and is expected to hover there into tomorrow. the national hurricane center warned this afternoon of ocean stm surges that could be 2 feet higher than normal, while nd gusts were nearly 200 miles an hour at times. phone service has been spotty or disconnected there. so, we checked in this evening with danica coto, who covers the caribbean for "the associated press." she's been reporting with a colleague who is in the bahamas. danica joins us via skype frompu san juanto rico. danica, hello again to you, so what are you hearing about what o is hurricane has done the bahamas? >> well there's a lot of harrowg call for help coming out to have islands hit on sunday but also from grand mahama island, which was affected today on monday, all monday for more than 12 urs. it's a pretty significant amount of time for an island that is zero to 15 feet abo sea level,
given the storm surge is expected betwe 18 and 23feet. >> woodruff: i was seeing in a beport you did with your colleague in theamas, there was something like over 2,000 distress calls? >> correct. a lot of people were calling in for friends and relatives relaying messages to a radio station that was thenpassing on messages to the emergency management agency. you know, these calls range from a five-month-old stuck on top of a roof to an elderly woman who had a stroke to a pregnt woman to a grandmother with six andchildren who had toa literally cule in the roof. many of these people were asking for helpt rescue crews said they were unable to go out, given the current weather conditions. so, unfortately, a lot of ople were left waiting for heme and, as soon as the weather cleared, you know, officials t say could go out and help. most of them went out as the eye passed thrgh grand bahamas.as
most were waiting to bee rscued. >> woodruff: you said zero to 15 feet above sea level. how prepared are they to dealm with any stnd, in particular, a storm like this one that's just sitting there? >> well, the bahamas is pretty used to major storms. from 2015 to 2017, they were hir by ee category 4 storms coyeecutively in thosears. the homes are buie lt ndto withs 150-mile-per-hour winds, but dorian was no match. dorian was carrying 185-mile-per-hour winds with gusts of up to 220-mile-per-hour winds when it t th abaco >> woodruff: but w't know, is what you' saying the extent of the destrection. >> c. officials are saying they are still unable to go to the abaco islands hit on sunday. the earliest they would be able to go in and help the communities and nearby keys would be on 2:00 p.m. tuesday.
but a lot remains unkwn since the storm has basically parked itself over the bahamasnd abaco islands for two days. >> woodruff: is it unknown howny eople were actually able to leave the baamas -- i'm assuming not that many -- before the storm hit? >> a lot of people soughto shelter, but slaters s ayny remained -- legislators say many he remained in thetiny keys around grand bahamas and they're talking abouislation to be able to enfenorce mandatory ehavinweighs. >> woodruff: but people have to be able to afford to get on a at or an airplane to do that. >> correct, they provide ansportation for many of these people, and etch up to 11:00 a.m. sunday which was the last bus leaving for shelters. even then, you know, a couple of shelters in grand bahamas today were reporting problems with flooding.re locaorters said children were sitting on laps of adults as flood waters rose in at least
two shelters. some are describing the airport freeport in grand bahama looking like an ocean. people are in second floors of their homes filming videos with waters rising.f: >> woodrt's a terrible situation and, of course, we're all waiting to see what more is learned. danica coto with the associated press. thank yo >> wrdruff: in the day's othe news, four people died and another 29 are missing and feared dead after a dive boat california.e coast of soutrn the 75-foot vessel caught fire before sinking near santa cruz island. the ventura county fire department released photos of the boat engulfed in flames beforereawn. all fivemembers survived by jumping into the water.st but the u.s. cuard is still combing the site looking for missing passengers. >> presently the coast guard has ll efforts in a response posture right now, we are currently still in the response
phase. right now they are conducting shoreline searches for any available survivors. >> woodruff:t's still unclear what caused the fire. federal transportation authorities have st a team to the scene to investigate. authorities in odessa, texas say the gunman who killed seven in a mass shooting this weekend was the attack.s job on the day of the shooter wounded at least 22 people before he was killed by police. authorities said he made rambling calls to 911 and the f.b.i. before the attack. >> he was on a long spiral of going down. he didn't wake up saturday morning and go into his company and en it happened.
he went to that company in trouble. he's probably been in trouble been reaching out.s why we've i talked to some of you yesterday, about we really need y e public's help to reach out to us when te people in that downward spiral that may be on that road to violence. >> woodruff: we'll get a report on the latest from odessa, later in the program. in afghanistan, the taliban claimed responsibie ty for a massplosion that rocked the capital city kabul today, killing at least five civilians. more than 50 others were wounded. it targeted the heavily secured "green vlage" compound that's home to several aid agencies ane international organizations. the attack happened urs after u.s. envoy zalmay khalilzad briefed the afghan government about a draft peace deal with the taliban. special correspondent jane ferguson is in kabul, and joinin us now. hi, judy. this is just the latest of a series of escalating attacks by e taliban in recent days designed to keep up pressure on both the united states and the e timing is very significant. the u.s. special envoy to those peace talks between the united states government and the taliban that have been taking placein qatar, zalmay khalilzad
justa arrived this weekend back presenting president afghani with initial details o f proposed agreement between the united states and the taliban. it's believed they are close to agreeing on a u.s. drawdown in afghanistan but have yet to finalize that agreement. in the meantime, the taliban in the north of afghanistan just over the weekend as well. >> woodruff: that's special correspondent jane ferguson reporting from kabul. thank you, jane. >> woodruff: in hong kong, tenso of thousanstudents boycotted their first day of class to join anti-government demonstrations. their peaceful rallies followed a weekend of violent clashes with police that resulted in over 150 arrests. today, high school and college students wore face masks and school uniforms as they demanded democratic change and an inquiry into police conduct. >> ( translated ): i think that
secondary school students are part of society, and if we secondary school sdents decide to boycott classes, that shows that part of society has already stopped functioning. >> woodruff: the mass pro-democracy prests in the semi-autonomous chinese territory began in june. police officials have arrested more than a thousand people since then. medics in yemen pulled 88 bodies from a demolished detention center run by houthi rebels. the building was targeted yesterday by saudi-led coalition in all, the strikeed over a hundred people and wounded dozens more. it was the deadliest assault there so far this year. and, the trump administration said tod is reconsidering its decision to force immigrants with life-threatening ilesses to return to their home countries. u.s. immigrati and citizenship services abrupizy ended the program last month, sparkingsp wiad condemnion from the
medical community. the policy had allow immigrants to avoid deportation as they or relatives underwent life-saving medical treatment. still to come on the newshour: foer secretary of defense general james mattis speaks about his decades of service in the marines before he worked for president trump. an update form odessa texas after a gunman kills at inast seveeadly drive by shootings. protestors in the u.k. angry over the prospect of lving the european union without a deal. and much more. >> woodruff: now to my interview with former secretary of defense, retired marine corps general james mattis. he resigned in protest just president trump and heyear after would pull american forces outut of syria.
rethe u.s. and its allies isying to finish off the remnants of the aliphate, and mattis wrote in his resignation letter that he believed mr. trump deserved a secretary of defense whose "views are better aligned with yours." the decorated marine served more than four decades in uniform, including commands in bothraq and afhganistan. he left the corps in 2013 after a tumultuous tn running u.s. central command under president obama. secretary mattis has written a new book called "find chaos" learning to lead, and i sat down with him this morning in new york city. thank you very much for talking with us. >> pleasure to be here this morning. >> woodruff: so the book is called "fi,"nd chat's about your 40 years in the marines, it's also about your philosophy of leadership and there's a lot of advice in here with regard to
leadership. what doe it boil down to? >> well, i think leadership, whether you're leading a parish or a school ics your business or you're in the tilitary or politics, george washington, the r of our country put it vey well. >> woodruff: the book is full of so many stories of your life, among other things how youps heought the trand people out on the front lines were not being lisned to by amople in washington, and one of those es was in 2001, when you thoughtlaosama binen, you had him cornered in afghanistan, but the bush administration, in effect, pulled the rug out in front of you. >> the marine corps required you to read a lot of history, end our intelligence services said they believed osama bin laden was in one of two lleys
having studied the geronimo campaign and how you could puco in outposts that would cut him off, i pressed very hard to move against him. the challenge we face -- and you're right to bring it up the way you did, judy -- is, oftentimes, we have 19 and 25-year-olds out there ging 100% rigorously learning their jobs and carrying them out, but i'm not sure we hene bes rigorous in setting policy, and this isn't about republicans or democrats or partisan, this goes across party lines, irot even gs throughout the western democracies right now that seem seem to be stumbling in protection of democratic values and what we all stand for. >> woodruff: i want to ask you abt the few issues touching on american leadership today, and start with russia. you write at the end of the book especially about the critical importance of alliances,er a's allies. is it a good or bad idea to let russia back goo the g7 whicis
what the president has suggested? >> women answer that in to ways, judy. first, i believe that, when someone departs an administration over policy differences, you have what the french call a duty of reserve. i don't want to, on the tside, be making it more difficult ford our secretary fense, secretary of state and president who have to deal with this very complex world. there will be a ime when iers right for me to come out on strategy and policysa eements, but i was clear in my letter of resignation that i believed in having alliances and staying true to alliances, and i think that, as we look at the importance of alliances, this is critical that we work with our allies. for example, when this town was attacked on9/1, i was joined on the battlefield very quickly by troops from canada and the united kingdom, nory, germany, australia, new zealand, jordan and turkey, not because their
city had been attacked, but because we had been attacked. so we need to hold ou allies close. in this world, if you study history, nations with alls thrive, and nations without allies wither, and that's a reality. >>uff: and what about russia joing the-7? >> yeah, i think i maintain my quiet right now. thdon't want to speak tongs things that i'm no longer responsible for. >> woodruff: saudi arabia, given what we know about the murder of journalist imal khashoggit in the long-term interest of the u.s. to be working with crown mince mohamed bin salman? >> i think what we have to look at, what my book is written about is the lessons learned about how do you lead, and part of this is, at times, you have to work with countries that you don't share everything in common with, no doubt about that. but when you get into current policies and that sort ofth
subject, reason i want to keep quiet right now is we have troops all around the world engaged in operations. wephave dilomats all around thel world engaged in very senti negotiations, and, for a former sitting come out with criticism, especially when i'm not completely curre, i don't know all the backchnel things going on, i think it's unhelpful, pecially when i'm contributing to political assessments at a time when the political discussions in this country are so corrosive, i think it' better we all, at least the majority of us, learn how to roll up ou sleeves, listen and work together and try to support sound policy that answers questions you asked. >> woodruff: i hear what you're saying but your book is ll of decisions made for ethical reasons. this is an ethical decision, is it not, given wh at mohamn
salman is accused of? i >> i beliewould be an ethical decision about working with him. i think you can septharatt decision from working with saudi arabia, and that's tilt to difficult to do, but this is sometimes the case that those in sitions of authority, they have to make accommodations to things, where you take the least oftwo bad. optio >> woodruff: north korea, president trump has praised kimg n as a greatleader with "a beautiful vision," and that, due to the president's personal diplomasy, hsays he's changed his behavior. atw do you assess kim jong un and the successhis point of u. policy the north korea? >> i'm going to frustrate you here, judyaubec i don't believe, now in the cheap seats, is what i would call myself, that i'm geng to age in political assessment of something like that. there will come aoint where i want to talk about strablg and policy. eth t yet, butthere will come a time. >> woodruff: but as you know,
th election comming up in november of xt year, americans will be making a very important decision about in whom to placen mous decision-making power over the future of this country and the world. are you saying you don't think it's your responsibility to speak up before the election? that's exactly what i'm saying. i come from the department of dtense, and this isn't j about me. secretary ash carter, theet sey of defense under president obama, made very clear that the defensetf s country is a nonpartisan issue, and that was our area of expertise. he studiously avoided politicalm stts in that, so this is not just me trying to be protective of that adminisn that i just left over policy differces, i might add this is a standing tradition of the american military and the american defense establishment thatgoes back two centuries,
now, and, in the current corrosive political debates, it can get submerged where everybody thinks it's all about political assessments all the time. that does not have to be the case when it com to the u.s. military. they prospect the experiment, and it's pretty raucous experiment right now. >> woodruff: but you also served as a secretary of defense, a cabinet position in the government with immense sponsibility. and i just want to ask you more about that because you spent a lot of ti wite editor of th"the atlantic," jeffrey goldberg. they believe what you believe about him is a man oflibilityd cognitive ability and a man ofd generally dubious character. >> number one, i never said that and i'm not going to comment on who might have said it, but i would not tolerate, when i was on active duty or as secretary
of defense, any condemnation or characterization le that of any elected commander-in-chief. >> woodruff: so to those whoul -- and some are writing this right now -- wh say y have aesponsibility because a you have worked so closely with this president to speak candidly about what you've seen, and some of them are saying you're trying to have it both ways, that you n th enjoyed this posit enormous influence inside the administration, but now you're out, you don't have that responsibility anymore, and you're not speaking to theab american peoplut what you know. and allies of this country could be asking the same qution. >> well, frankly, i determine my own responsibilities and i'ved liat i believe is a responsible life. the area of expertise tht i've had had to do with the protection of this experiment th you and i cal america. it's the protection of it, and
at times it's very raucous, butl i have of confidence in the american people that they can select who is best forct president without me coming in from the out as a defense official, whether active or former or whatever, and start sounding like i'm the one who ib to evaluate those who have >> woodruff: are you confident this is the president who can be trusted wi the nuclear codes, the fatef responsibility? >> yes. woodruff: you want to expand on that, why you believe that? >> you know, t responsility that lies -- and that's a very gravone -- i have not heard anythinghat wou indicate there was some irresponsibility there. you know, the thing is, judy,li that we in a time where every word is taken apart -- and i realize we have an unusual president, and he talks openly about many things, but, at the
same time, in the privacy of the officehe has to deal with he reality of competing factors, and i would brinheg t grim realities of war into that office at the same time political leaders are elected to try to bring human aspirations pulling troops out of wars., o this is the normal -- to me, this is the normal tension irationuman as -- asp and war as realities, those grim realities. it's sometng, like being hard on the issues, i don't believe being hard on the people. >> woodruff: if yohibelieve thatpresident or a president was not a fit commander-in-chief, wod you say so >> yes. >> woodruff: in other words, ?ou think he's fit >> no, i'm not saying that. i don't make political assessments one watore the other -- one wa or th other. i come from the defense department, we protect this
experiment in democra. we don't make assessments of th people's cho serve as the elected charged in chief.f: >> woodrormer secretary of defense james mattis, we thank you for talking with us. >> you're welcome, judy. >> woodruff: the weekend shooting rampage in west texas has left two more american communities in mourning. neven people were killed odessa and nearby midland saturday, and another 22 peoplen were injureduding a 17- month-old girl. it came after state troopers stopped the alleged shooter fore failing to use his signal. he shot one of the troopers and then sped away, firing at people randomly. william brangham gets an update. >> brangham: judy, there was an emotional vigil last night for victims of the shooting. the gunman's motive is still unknown.he as apparently fired from his job just before the traffic stop
this of course all comes less than a month since the massacre at the walmart in el paso that killed 22 people. mitch borden of marfa public radio joins me from odessa by skype. doing this.very much for could you just tell me, first off, what we know about thect seven viims who were killed in this rampage? >> we know they ranged in age by quite a bit, the youngest being 57 and the oldest being 57 being 15 and the oldest being 57. thest was a sophomore at a local odessa high school. other than that, formation is coming out slowly about the victims. there are fundraisers, but so far, at least from what i've seen, they haven't released amp te list of the names lof the dead. >> reporter: this is such a otstrange type of mass shg where it's going sort of between these two cities from location to location. how are the two communities of midland and odessa doing,
appling th all of this? >> just to clear things up, the traffistop probably startedn midland county but mostly took placin odessa. the shooter never went to the city limits of midland. i both communitihink are in shock after being at the vigil last night. people are ready to heal but people are scared. this happened in so many places, so quickly, so many people were affected that, you know, it'ow only, what, two days later, like, people are trying to still just understand hothis happened. >> reporter: and govabernor bott day said we still don't know anything about the motive of what drove this man tohaact is way, but he said something about they found out something about him faing background checks for purchasing guns. to you tell us more about that? >> yes, they came out in a eyess held earlierday about law enforcement officials that he in check. failed a background they did not release any more
information. i they also said they didn't know how he observe signed the assault-style weapon he us the shooting. other than that, we'll have to wait for more information on the shooting. >> reporter: so this mascre following el paso follows a veed ofewntate laws that will go into effect to loosen prior gun laws. >> whaeight laws came into effes on september 1 but a lot of the make it easier to carry guns in houses of worship, during a disaster, one increased the fire marshals that can carry a firearm. at a press release yesterday, governor abbott addressed a crd and tak about actions needed but did not specify wha type of action. when asked about the regulations, he stated some make situations safer like the school ones where more school marshals can be armed. so he didn't really want to engage on the idea that maybe
these regations maybe things unsafe, and, so far, there sn't beenin more comment around odessa on this matter. >> reporter: calls for new gun control measures always follow shootings. aw that after el paso, dayton and saw it here. rknow fomer congressman beto o'rourke was in the region. he has made much of his presidential campaign based on gun control. he's called for some very aggressive measures, like mandator buybacks of assault-style weapons. did he talk about that today? and, if so, how does that play in texas, to tex asrs? >> you know, when i saw him, he was visiting a labor-dayn, celebrat potluck at a union hall or a celebration by unio and hes there trying to spread support from all of test wks, the shooting of
el paso happenedess than 30 soys ago. t was just about trying to bring the communities together. he also said action needed to be taken. he didn't go into, like -- dut ng the speech, he dido into cerin policies but expressed, likeyes, more policy level, like he wasn't shy about that. i don't think he's usually shy out that. how that will play in texas, i think texas is a red state.f i think a lotpeople love guns in this, you know, state and are very protective of their second amendment rights. at the same time, two mass shootings in less 3 thdays, i think some people do want change, and i think, when you can get really anular when you go into what type of change people want, but i think people are getting to their wits' end h th this violence. >> reporter: mirden of marfa public radio. thank you very much for your time and your reporting. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: britain has begun a critical week in the battle over its planned exitanrom the euroexon. prime minister boris johnsonas ordered members of his governing ve party to back his efforts to secure the best possible brexit deal. the state of britain's democracy is under severe scrutiny after johnson obtained the queen's permission to suspend parliament in an apparent attempt to halt debate over brexit. as special correspondent malcolm brabanreports, that move led to dozens of demonstrations over e weekend. >> reporter: members of boris johnson's cabinet we summoned his dow for an emergency session. he told them he's optimistic of getting concessions from europeo that britain can leave on october 31st with a deal. but his plans are threatened by an opposition bill due to be tbled by the labour leer
jeremy corbyn tomorrow. with demonstrators jeering in the background, the prime minister urged his party to back him. >> but if there's one thing that can hold us back in these talks it is the sense in brussels that m.p.s may find some way to cancel the referendum or that tomoow m.p.s will vote with jeremy corbyn for yet another pointless delay. i don't think they will, i hope that they won't. but if they do, they will plainly chop the legs out from under the uk position and make any further negotiation absolutely impossible. >> reporter: the implied threat was that if the government fails to defeat the bill in parliament bitomorrow, he will seek a genel election. i don't want an electio you don't want an election. let's get on with the people's agenda.
>> reporter: johnson spent theon weekend war gaming with closest advisors at his official retreat, chequers, after he decided, contrersially, to suspend parliament for five his ultimatum is a response to plans outlined by labour's brexit spokesman sir keir starmer. andhe leglation is simp straightforward, the purpose of which is to ensure that if we get to the 31st of october without a deal, we do not crash out. there's no mandate from the referendum for crashing out without a deal, nor is there a mandate from parliament for that. so actually boris johnson has no mandate for this at all. >> reporter: two opinion polls conducted in recent daysha indicateboris johnson is gaining support for his tough stance. despite the sistance to the onsuspension of parliamentof those polls suggests that johnson would win a general election. he's buoyed by reactions like this from business woman kindi kaur, a conservative support.ka she's from gravesend, a district east of london that voted ovwhelmingly for brexit.
>> i think boris has done a fantastic tactical move here. to make everyone pull their actg together ae us a good deal. otherwise, thank you very much, we're leaving whether you like it or not. and we are strong enough to survive this. >> reporter: the shock wavso of boris jos nuclear option to suspend parliament have reverberated nationwide. there may not have been thousands on the queen's doorstep at windsor but the symbolism was obvious. >> i think this is a british coup. it's very polite, it's veryun suming. and that's the worst thing, it's very quiet. they slip things through the door. we've accepted things, we didn't realize were going to happen. >> reporter: the precise verb to suspend parliament is prorogue. tht'prime minister insists i a standard procedure, leaving ample time for lawmakers to debate brexit. but protestors don't believe him. >> it's the most vital time in our recent history and he's just shut everybody up. he's shut everybody out, so he can force through what the vocal
minority of people want, which is a no deal brexit. >> reporter: architect matthew taylor is concerned that johnson is flouting the conventions of britain's unwritten constitution. >> in the past it's relied on a lot of trust and good faith, a belief that the people in charge are doing the right ing. but if they switch to not doing it, it's very easy to starus g a system like that because there aren't enough checks and balances in place. >> reporter: another reasofor staging the proteshere. just opposite the queen's favorite pad in windsor lies eton. the very name exudes privilege c ss-obsessed britain. that iviest of ivy league schools, eton college, is where britaiyals and upper crustls send their heirs to learn about gaining and using power. it's produced 20 british prime ministers, iluding the latest, boris johnson. >> hey ho, boris johnson has to go >> the idiot that got schooled just down the road has in one or two weeks destroyed everything.
we are supposed to be the home place of democracy. okay?ng hah, no . >> this has got nothing to do with outrage about democracy.s thisl to do with trying to stop brexit. and it's not going to work. >> reporter: craig mackinlay iss a leading member of a hardcore conservative group of lawmakers? known as the spartans. they helped depose the previous prime nister theresa may because they thought she wasn't tough enough on brexit. mackinlay defends parliament's suspenon as normal, and applauds johon's push for a better brexit deal from europe. >> everybody goes to look at new houses, new cars. you don't go into that showroom to buy a new car and saying i'm not leavinhere until i buy t. if you're not getting the deal you want, the price you want and the extr you want, you wal away. so what prime minister johnson has done is trying to get that no deal threat back on the table because only if you have that nl hreat in my view have you got any chance of getting a deal that would be acceptable.
>> reporte there are fears at a no deal brexit would cause hold ups at ports like dover. the government has promised f there will be d shortages. but matthew taylor is nothe convinced. >> if anything, civil unrest is likely to start when there are food shortages and stuff. only a m fths ago we had people phoning the police because k.f.c. ran out of chicken. so if people are going to react like that about that their idea of this blitz spirit where they all survive on home grown vegetables, it's not going to happen. >> reportest they're not ving just yet, but there's increasing worry in picture postcard britain ts t the countrstiny is about to change, forever. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant in eton. >> woodruff: from coast to coast, 2020 candidates celeated labor day. but after a weend of breaking ws, they had larger questions to address.
lisa desjardins ings us this campaign update. >> desjardins: therehey were, at work today among the crowds and parades, charming poteial voters. but listen closely: on this labor day, democtic candidates for presidenfocused less on jobs and wages, and more on the gun debate, after odessa texas became the latest site of a mass ooting on saturday. take former vice president joe biden, in iowa.d he se constitution does not protect semi-automatic rifles, like the one used in odessa >> having assault weapons on the street, or magazines carryingmu iple bullets, is irrational. there is no need for it, and your second amendment rights are in no way violated. >> desjardins: minnesota senator amy klobuchar, singled out senate republican leader mitchel mccoon guns. >> mitch mcconnell is going to have to decide what side he's on. so he's going to have to explain to the people of this country why he wouldn't let that bill that just passed t house come up for a vote. >> desjardins: and all this follows the comments from former
texas congressman beto o'rourke, who used an explete on cnn, nosunday while reacting toer mass shooting in his home state. >> so, yes, this is ( bleep ) up and if we don't call it out for what it is, if we're not able to speak clearly, if we're not able to act decisively, then we will continue to have this kind of bloodshein america. and i cannot accept that. >> desjardins: in los angeles, california senator kamala harris hit severanotes, vowing executive action on guns if congress doesn't act, while commemorating the hoday.e >> i think of it as a moment where we are celebrating the leadership of organized labo that brought all of us, whethero member of or not, better conditions, wages, benefits. >> desjardins: massachusetts senator elizabeth warren sentr t a labor day video to supporters. while for another candidate,r lay also was about their workforce: south bend, indiana, mayor pete buttigieg ispa ing in iowa. >> that starts with the folks who are gathered here in attendance tay, and it starts in this, the first of 20 field
offices that wopre going to be ening in the next few days. >> desjardins: in the meantime, vermont senator bernanders, focused on new england, stumping in the "first in the nation" primary state of new hampshire. u woodruff: and that brin to politics monday. our politics monday team is back. amy walter of "the cook political report" and host of p public radio's "titics with amy walter." and tamara keith from npsh also co-hosts the "npr politics podcast." longtime media women. thank you for working this labor day. we appreciate it. .et's start with unions on the labor fathers' d tam, what do we know about president trump's relationship with yiewn once? is he keeping the voters? he talks a lot about them. >> he does talk a lot about them. what he talks about is how he really identifies with the rank and file and he isconstantly saying, well, you know, the union bosses, they don't like me, but the rank file, they're my people. the numbers don't exactly bear that out. certainly, some rank and file
union members and ununon president trump ano doubt, continue to. but he's really -- he's really pushing the idea. and his idea, i think the image in his mind of a unoion worker s somebody with a hard hat and lunn offpail who takes ra sho at the ed of the day. that isn't necessarily reflective of union workers as a whole in america. you out, amy. i want talk to in your podcast, politics with amy walter, the takeaway, you t face of union voters is not what people think it is. tam is rigat trump hastr made inroads with rank and file amembers, especially in ps that we know are key to the presidential election, in those battleground states. in ohio, according to the exit pold he n union households by 1 13 points. this is a group of vots that earlier obama had won by 20.
so there is somethining on there. he did ate beth were union household than romney did four years earlier, so, yes, he's been ae to make roads, but tam is also correct that this image of the hard hat, and really we're talking about a white guy witha hard hat or a white guy coming out of the minus, doesn't reflecti think, where labor currently is in terms of its membership. it's becoming much morefemale centered, certainly for people of color are much more significant influence and force within the labor movement than they have been evedr before, a think about where, if you're looking to what the most high profile union organizing or labor issues have been in the last year or so, st's been the teacher strikes, again, a profession that's heavily female and the fight for 15, the organizing of fast food workers 15 an hour. wage of $ so the service industry also.
very influenti we know in 2018, women were a very big source ofat demo votes and emergency, and i think we should be okingalso to those women who are part of labor as another piece of this. e more thing about the labor makeup that's interesting. i think part of the reson that joe biden has done as well or doing as well in the democratica primary is thathe's seen as the candidate, the one candidate who can win back those guys with lunch pails and hard hats in pennsylvania, michigan, in ohion that has, i think, helped cement his frontrunner statu >> and he obviously pushes that image. >> absolutely. scranton joe, middle class joe, that is part of his pitch. >> absolutely. itchin part, that isn't just to white voters who fit the image. he's also pitching that to voters of color who just want to beat president trump. that's right, he's saying this is how we can win, i can
gethese voters. >> right. another way democrats are trying to get attention and energize their base, at least some suburban women voers is guns. we're here after another weekend of more guan deths in this country. tam, where exactly do you think the white house really is on wanting to get legislation through inngress of any ? >> in part, i think the white house is still trying to figure that out. i ow that they -- and i've spoken to people who have been the white house, at a staff level, have been having meetings with gurightpeoplebut also with victims' families and other advocates, staffs meofber of congress from both sides of the aisle. but what they think they can actually do, what they think thl president ctually get behind is not clear. there's sort of a disconnect now between the presidenis it staff and sort of a disconnect between the president from oneme to the next. what i mean by that is he keeps saying differenthings that are
seemingly quite contradictory, saying, well, we do wat to background checks, but then, sayingexcept, you know, background checks wouhave prevent anything of the recent shootings, so i guess maybe, well, you know, we need tot prote second amendment. it's not clear exactly where he stands. the issue right now is that the white house keeps saying we need to know what is politically feasible and what is pass you talk to people in congress and they're saying we need to know what the president would actu doesn't that sound familiar? wer?e -- we have this a conversatiot. the other interesting emmeant is what's happening on the s democrate. we talked about this is a unique period of time where you have running for president kind of united around the issue ofuns, at's brand new. but now you see beto o'rourke led thisas who has ret campaign since the el paso shooting and is running essentiay on the issue of gun control, moving outer r even
father and this we've heard previous democratic candidates on issues like having buybacksa for assault ns. with this become part of the debate? he's no longer in congress, but are there other members of congress who say we should put that into the mix, too? that is certainly too far for republicans, the question is will it be too far for many democrats, too? >> this is a good transition to another thing we've seen in the past week which is more ired members of congress. especially republicans. lightning round ladies, wilwe see another record year oaf retirements from coness or no? >> some of these retirements are based on personal factors, other retirements appear to be based on it's just not that fun to be in the minority. or i think that's true. we wilknow if thre's another slew of retirements. there's a special eleh ion in norolina in a very publican district on september 10 next week.
>> right. it's already coming up. i think, should democrats win there, that would be another alarm bell and worry spot for republicans,maybe another incentive to pack it in. >> amy walter,amera keith, enjoy the rest of your holiday. >> tyou, too. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonigm . i'dy woodruff.i' thank you and see you soon >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> financial services firm raymond james. >> and by the alfred p. sloanun tion. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century.
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