tv Washington Week PBS May 1, 2020 7:30pm-8:00pm PDT
governors confront economic turmoil. d the former vrment p. faces tough questions. >> i think we did a spectacular job. >> the white house on the defensive amid economic, health and political challenges. and with fresh attacks on longtime targets. >> china is a very su fist kated country and they could have contained. and the world has suffered greatly. >> everyone's entitled to their opinion. but i am not going to make decisions about our public health based on political gains. robert: and the 2020 campaign vice a turn as former president joe biden denies a former aide's allegation of sexual assault. >> i assure you, id -- it did
not happen, period. robert: next. announcer: this is "washington week." corporate funding is provided by -- >> life isn't a straight line, and sometimes you can find yourself heang in a new direction. fidelity is her yto help work through the unexpected with financial planning and advice for today and tomorrow. ♪ announcer: keyser permanent additionle nal funding is provided by the estate of of arnold adams and koo and patricia yuen, through the yueni foundation, ced to bridging cultural differences in
our communities. the corporation for publi broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station fromiewers like you. thank you. once again, from cos. w robert: good evening. as president trumpn settles tonight for a weekend at camp david, he's facing not only a pandemic but a pressure cooker out in the country, a nation on dge. 64,000 dead. economic desperation, political tensions and fcal uncertainty as congress considers its next step. alhose issues are front and center with governors in both pears grappling fo how and when they open businesses. and the president lashing out at little cal cost of the crisis. joining me are four reporters covering these stories. yeah mish alcindor, white house
correspondent for pbs newshour. weijia jng, white house correspondent for cbs news. susan page, washington bureau chief f "usa today." and philip rucker white house bureau chief for "the washington post." let's begin tonight. the president and the states. one snapshot inichigan where democratic governor gretchen criticism for extending her restrictionsntil may 28th. and president trump said "she should give a litle." in maryland larry hogan told me in a "washington post" live t interview orsday that he fierce the federal government could try to seize the 500,000 coronavirus tests his sta secured from south korea. treasure when they landed at b.w.i. airport.
>> it was like fort knocks to us because it was going to save thousands of lives. maryland sti protecting those tests? >> they are. the unanimous guard and the state police are bothuarding them at an undisclosed locatio robert: amid the reopening plans and the protests and the alarm about testing, federal officials have warned governors to not go too far, too fast. >> they know their states. the mayors know their cities mingts you want to give them a wiggle room. but my rommendation is don't wiggle too much. robert: dr. fauci said don't wiggle too much. when you're cthinovegog rnors, challenges are they facing when it comes to testing as all the states try to reopen? >> governors have essentially been begging the administration to help them g supplies so they can complete these tests. president trump likes to talk a lot about the testingac capacit
ss the nation. and that's one thing. that is thet potential to t americans. but governors say they need the goods to do it. and despite the president and the administration insisting that they are helping, we're just not seeing that play out on the ground. in fact, just this week, president trump rolled out a national testing blueprint in an effort under mounting pressure to show that he is taking buleadership. when you really look at this blueprint, bob, it just shows a list of suggestions for the states. so the big questionstill remains why he is not using his full per to procure these o critical for testing. and i think it's not just the states, but you know, just tod we're t tking about capital physicians saying he doesn't have enough tests for lawmakers returnin on monday. i think that's a really telling story of where we are with testing and how sorely we are
still lacking. robert: andhil, you hear it from ever goverr, governor hogan. governor pritzker. help me understand the president's confrontationith governor whit me and with other governors. what behind the scenes is driving that strategy and those attacks? >> well, a big part of i bob is simple politics. we're in a campaign year. he trying to shirk responsibility, shirk blame for any of the failings in the united states' response to the coronavirus pandemic, central as weijia pointed outs the testing fail yours, the strugglg t mass testing that governors don't have the swabs they need. d thn have the trained technicians they need to run those fancy new abbott machines. and they're able to perform tests hat capacity in order to feel safe reopening their states. they wan w help fromhington.
and they're note getting it because the white house, the president have determined that this should be a state issue. theyon't want t have responsibility for a national testing strategy. they want to have the states execute it on their own. robert: are we sing a red state, blue state divide. we're lookingt texas and georgia with governors moving swiftly to reopen. and governor whit me facing protests? >> we are. >> we're seeing what is really the consequences of a more polarized america as whole. and we're seeing these different policies play out state by state. what weijia and phil are talking about tonight are the beginnings of how this crisis began, which is that from the very beginni we saw state and local leaders, governors begging for someort of real federal poll san antonio testing, real federal policy on outbreak. dle this coronavirus and they have continued to say that. they continue to say they want more guidance from the white
house. the idea that you can rpen the government without having a large testing strategy governors ety it's just sng that can't happen , and that inclus rry hogan who we saw literally smuggle in tests from south korea because he needed to get that equipment from the ste. what you're seeing is the fruits of a polarized america and the states having to fend for themselves becauseushe white doesn't want to be part of this national testing strategy because they st'ays a fact that the president said more than a month agoow that anyone who wants a test could get a test. and that wasn't true. it's not troupe now. robert: susan, phil rucker o brought upf politics driving the president behind thene s at the white house. what does the poll show about whatulobe driving and shaping the president's hinking?
>> you know, we saw the president not doing well with his resnse to the coronavirus. we see approval for him going down. in our poll he trails joe biden by 10 percentage points nationwide in a head-to-head. weind a big appetite for a more activist federalme gove. both republicans and independents a democrats think , the president ought to beg do more. he's protecting those tests from federal seizure. he's trying to protect his state interests becau he feels the federal governme might work against those interests. part of the result, i think, of the president not taking more forceful national action when ik comes tog care of the supply chain on these things or taking more control over when states close and open back uphi that's som he's definitely left to the states. robert: phil, what are we hearing about this new target of
china on the president's radar? is he actually going to take action against china? >> well,ob, he has threatene to take action. he's considering it. and sort of vaguely said that he would thate thinks china should be punished. he has found ways and really over many weeks now to point the finger at china to blame the chinese for allowing this vus to escape its borders, fowir al it to spread first to europe but then to the united states. but it's uncar what action that will be exactly. the one thing driving the president is he wants a toppear tough on china. he see this is as a central campaign issue. he's trying to draw a contrast with vice president biden who was part o the obama administration and the pivot to asia severea ago. trump is trying to usehis coronavirus pandemic as a way to posture his administration visa
v china. but it'snclear what specific actions he would take. he has not spelled that out in te tail. robert: you saw kayleigh what's going on with the new chief of staff? the new press secretary? is there a shift in their whole approach to the management of this? >> i think they had t make a change until they saw how the president was performing when he was sort at the podium and spit balling in many ways, free falling in other ways with these reallyong, extended briefings that he was using also as a platform to replace those campaign rallys that he was no longer having. and i think the team saw overall it was not helping him. and they had tohange something. over the weekend, the presiden said it was not worth it for him toave the briefings. of course, tt's not true because at his core, he is t
communicator and messenger-inf. ch and he's not going to relinquish what we saw hig the same thing taking questions from the press but doing it in a different setting. it was in a muchore formal setting. he was less combative which was appare as for his press secretary it was a big shift from h predecessor because she was at the podium today. i don't think w should give her too much credit for doing her job but certainly it is a stark difference from stephanie grisham who dn't have a single press briefings. kayleigh ws out there. we knew she was going to get in front of any badgi mes and ery to transition that into something posithich we saw her attempt to do today. robert: and yeah mish, you're in that briefing room. i was struck by one of yourut reports, a reporting on the
country whereeople are feeling this economic pain. you see the economic numbers in state after state so troubling. have you learned this week about how the summer looks for manymericans with the rising unemployment rate, with jobs not coming back in many sector >> people frankly are scared, bob. they're scared for their they're scared whether they're going to be able to survive and thrive in a financial and emotional way when itomes to is the third or fourth quarter this year that tngs will get back to being positive. americans areng to keep some of the behaviors that they learned throughout this outbreak. when will we see big, long lines at restaurants again? that mighbat not com and bounce back in the same way even if mayors and governors continue to open up their economy. i think there are going to be a will -- a lot of essential
workers. that those people who are essential to our society a the functioning of our society that those people will be the most out o luck. those people are really afraid. i wanto add what weijia was talking about. there was a big difference. th big overall difference that iaw was while the messaging was the same. what you get frp her is a less harsh -- she was pushing back on reporters but in a way that seemed little bit slicker. i oon as shi walked out, thought this is someone who president trump will like because she's cut her teeth on network tv auditioning the job andefending him even before robert: the speaker wants $1 trillion to address man of the concns hearing from people out in the c tatoun
how realistic that congress is going to come together because we know mitch mcconnell, he l wantbility protection for businesses as par of this package if he's going to give any money to states. >> well, the congress has approved an extraordinary amount of spendingn already a pretty quick fashion and in a reasonably bipartisan way. but i tnk that'sgoing to be tougher with this next bill that they're working on because democrats are going to insist on funding. republicans have been lefless enthusiastic about that. mitch mcconnell has some history of of worrying about debts and deficits. some of those concerns may come more to the floor. liability protection for t employers and others. it seems to me it's going to be perhap longer process than we've seen. but we do se be a appetite for government spending by people who feelhey are under water, under fire, under siege and are
really looking to theandhat hasn that's b sense of the country that is propelled the congress to make some of these extraordinary expenditures so far. robert: to wrap up thisus dion about the white house. i want to go back to where we start. the raw politics driving so much of. this "th r post"eported that the president had a private exchange to brad pascall, pretty tense based op the reporting. what -- on the reporting. what have have you heard? >> the president was confronted by the brad pascall and the national committee who brought her a fresh batch of internalin po it showed him losing to joe bind. it not only showed him losing to joe biden and these press hiiefings were taking a toll on isng and the president erupted at his aides. he saidel he didn'tve the
numbers. he said they he can't possible be losing to biden. he thinks people likes his briefings. it was a tense exchange annid acris back and forth to pascall to the point where the president threatened toue his campaign manager. although, it's not clear if he wthasnd friend josh dossy.t. but it's a sign of how much the political standing, credibility, fortunes of this president hang in the balance because of the pandemic. robert: let's go t the democratic side of the 2020 race. on friday, joe biden, addressed an allegation of sualsault by tara reade a former aide. here's msnbc. >> would you please go on the cord with the american people? did you sexually assault tara
reade? >> no, it's not true. i'm sayinglyunequit never ever happened and it didn't. it never happened. >> mr. biden called on the national arc ave to release dock! s to read e's legations. biden asserted that his personnel files are "not tre." he declined to discuss her decision to speak out. >> you have said in the past that if a woman goes under the lights and talks about somhihing like we have to consider that the essence of this is re. is the essence of what she is saying is real? why do you think she's doing this? >> i'm not goi to question her motive. i'm not going to get into that at all. i don't know why she's saying this. i don't know why after 27 yrs all of sudden this gets raised. i don't understand it. i'mot going to go in and question her motive. i'm not going to attack h. e has the right to say whatever she has to say. but i have a right to say, look at the facts.
robe: susan, as a political reporter who has covered vrmeprment biden, what d you learn from this interview and this whole week? -- has covered the v.p. biden what did you learn from this interview and this whole week? >> headn't responded in a television interview. i think they thought it was n necessary bt sufficient. he had to do this. but this story is not over. he's going to have more questions about it. you kn, it's a hard -- we found him being totally ungive cal in his dngial that anyt happened. but he seemed flummoxed when he was asked aout the university's. arch that is something he's going to have to talk about again. robert: justefore the broadcast, the vice president called on the secretary of the senate to ask for a b search toe done on any senate records.
but he's still holding 2008 on his university of delaware records. is that g to become an issue the delaware papers? >> it's already an issue because the trump campaign and surrogates are demanding, you possible when it comes to tarar e and the former vice president. but i think, you know, pesidents trump f has a very complicated relationship with allegations of sexual misconduct. we already know that because of his personal experience of being accused by more than aozen women. but what shocked me frankly was when he talked about it last night because he said that these accusations against mr. biden could possibly be false. about how he was falsely d accused. he brought up brett kavanaugh and how he s mistreated.
just today, president trump said of i were talking to joe biden, i would say g out and fight these claims . it's almost as if they're in the same club of being accused. andba that's going to com and haunt the president because every time his campaign tripes to make it an issue, you know, they can -- the democrats can point to the president's word to defend vice psident biden robert: yamiche, i think you want to jump in here? >> yeah, it's an interestingsi on that president trump finds himself is thatan he go that hard because we know more than two duns women have accused president trump of sexual assault. the white house pressysecretary this is all four years old and that people -- that that was already decidedhen people decided to elect president trump. but she was wrong on the facts there. i th not four years old. just last year, we had e. jean carroll. she was trying to seek the
president's d.n.a. in 2020 for a lawsuit related to the sexual assault allegations that she's making against the pnt. this is going to be a tough spot. thearesident hs surrogates that want to attack joe biden using the taraad e's allegation. and joe biden is going to have to continue to answer these questions because there is going to be new reporting about who was in the office? what kindomenn ways o that some said made them feelbl uncomfor those pictures are going to continue to circulate. road ahead of him.has but president trump is not going to be able to hit him as hard as he wants to or the combaints -- campaign wants to. robert: they're a important constituency. speaker pelosi, top strategies,
how are they responding as they watcfllhs, t ohi bob, it's cleaa story that a top democrat would want to be in the news right now or want to be talking about that said, they haveeen behind vice president biden. he has the support of pelosi and others. there did seem to be a private sort of ground swell of urging that biden get out ththe and p band-aid off and talk about it. he for days and days was avoiding media interviews and wasn't putting himself out there where he could be questioned about these allegations the way he was this morningon "morning joe." i suspect we're going to see a lot o democrats take him at his word and point to his record. he was in the senate for many,
many years. in addition to that many years as vice preside. he has a governing record on things he has done againsthe violence against women act. i inggine that's go be par of his strategy going forward. robert: just in the finalinute here, as much as the vice president supporters believe h n carry on and he's going to be able to move on his campaign, this is a me too moment in merica, not just in america politics. how does that change the campaign in the coming weeks an? mont >> you know, i think -- here's one iron donald trump helped create this landscape that is creating all these proems fo joe biden the me too movement. the opposition to his access hollywood tape and some of his behavior in the past. fair or not, these accusations hurt joe biden more than they hurt donald trump.
because joe bind's brand is that he's ethical in a way that's not nald trump's political brand. robert: that's all the time we have tonight. thank youo our reporters. yamiche, weijia jiang, susan we will be taking you as close to the news as we can. this discussion will continue on the "washington week" extra. find it on our website or our social media. but for now, i'm robert costa. good night from washington. [captioning performed by the utnational captioning inst which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.visit ncicap.org] ♪ announcer: corporate funding for ashington week" is provided by
an d a new direction. fidelity is here to help you work through the unexpected. with financial planning and advice for today and tomorrow. ♪ >> kaiser permanente. additional funding is provided by the estate of arnold adams and koo and patricia yuen, commitd to bridging cultural differences in our communities, the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs stationm f viewers like you. thank you.
nathan masters: at midnight on january 17, 1920, the manufacture, sell, and transportation of intoxicating liquors became illegal across the united states. durose dry and trying years of prohibition, how did angelenos keep their glasses half full? the volstead act might have outlawed alcohol, but itdn c't make it disappear. the truth is, clever angelenos found ways to ke the liquor flowing. some made their own. others sd legal medicinal whiskey prescribed by obliging doctors to treat a host of invented ailments. but most drank foreign booze, illegally imported into the u.s. by criminal cartels--canadian whiskey and mexican tequila served to thirsty patrons at speakeasies across the southland. what actually remains of prohibition-era l.a.? today, the illit liquor trade is not well-documented in the archives, and when youk thabout it, that's no surpriseiven how rky