tv PBS News Hour PBS August 23, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy wdruff. on the newshour tonight, the fall of afghanistan-- a fireght at kabul airport complicas a chaotic exit for those desperate to flee taliban control. >> woodruff: then, getting the vaccine-- the f.d.a. fully approves pfizer shots for all americans 16 and over. we talk with doctor anthony fauci on what it means and what difference it could make. and, political stakes-- how the biden white house navigates afghanistan and disagreements among democrats over his domestic agenda. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
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>> woodruff: we have two major stories tonigh- our jane ferguson will be live from the kabul airporon the chaotic fall of afghanistan. but first, the u.s. food and drug administration gave full approval to pfizer's covid-19 vaccine today. almost immediately, the pentagon announced vaccinations will now be mandatory for u.s. service members. and, in new york, the nation's largest public school system ordered all staff to get shots, without the opt-out provision that it previously allowed. following today's announcement, a number of public health officials say they hope full approval will encourage people who had been reluctant, to get a shot now. we turn once again to dr. anthony fauci, he's director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president.
dr. anthony fauci, thank you very much for joining us. so let me just start and ask you in brief, what does this full approval mean? because we know is is many months after the f.d.a. had given emergency approval, and after, what, more than 90 million americans have already had the vaccine? >> doctor: indeed. what this is, judy, is really the really final impromature and the stamp of approval. the f.d.a., as is there job to do, and they did it well, has meticulously gone every bit of data from the standpoint of the effectiveness of the vaccine, the safety of the vaccine, and also things that the public doesn't appreappreciate; namely, the inspection of the facilities that manufacture the vaccine to make sure there is consistency in the production of it. so i believe people now, understandably, who have felt this was under an emergency-use authorization, does that
mean it doesn't really have the full approval? well, even under the e.u.a., the experience that we've had with the efficacy and the safety should make people feel that that was a very, very good stamp of approval based purely on the date that we were getting. but now that it is official -- and what that is going to mean, i believe, judy, is that there probably are maybe 20%, up to 30% who in good faith felt they wanted that ultimate approval before they felt comfortable in getting the vaccine. and we have about, you know, a little less than 90 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet gotten vaccinated. i hope that this is going to get those 20% to0% or so of people to wind up deciding that now they feel comfortable with getting vaccinated. in addition, it's going to allow people who feel they want to mandate -- they could be schools,
universities, colleges, places of business, who are reluctant to make vaccination a requirement for attendance or employment or what have you, or who will feel much more comfortable now doing that now that you have an official stamp of approval from the f.d.a. so in two areas i think it is going to really impact the number of people who get vaccinated. >> woodruff: and your answer in questions -- in fact, i was going to ask you, just that question about why it took so long? because the has been a lot of discussion for months now about why don't we have full approval? >> doctor: it took so long -- and i wouldn't say so long because i don't think, judy, it was so long -- it took a period of time which allowed the f.d.a. to do their job, which they do so well. they are the gold standard of regulatory agencies throughout the world. in fact, there are some people who are saying, well, they did it too quickly. it usually takes years,
sometimes, before you get a full approval. they did it now because they have a voluminous amount of data. they worked double-time fast. they just did not cut any corpse. corners. they examined every bit of it, and they did it well. i think that's why when the f.d.a. approves a product for intervention, you can feel comfortable it is safe and effective. >> woodruff: this applies only to people who are 16 and . i want to ask you about the 12 to 15-year-olds who would soon be taking the vaccine under emergency authorization. we heard today from dr. peter hotez. i'm sure you know him. he is a dean, professor of pediatrics, works in vaccine development, he said mandates, he said by
excluding those 12 to 15, mandates for middle schools may be out the window. and he spoke about how pediatricians are still having a hard time convinng families■ that it is safe. >> doctor: well, i mean, mandates will be very difficult, i believe, in some situations when you don't have the full approval. but they looked at the data that was presented by the company and the data were for 16 and older. the 12 to 15-year-olds can still get the vaccine through the e.u.a., which is the way they were getting it all along. but that is the point: sometimes entities, organizations, schools, are hesitant to mandate because it doesn't have the full approval. but i believe, judy, that you may get an indirect effect. i understand what peter is saying. he is a good friend and a really highly competent person. i understand what he is saying, but my feeling is the very fact that you
have a full approval of a b.l.a. for 16and older, that would even indirectly give some backing for mandates for anybody approved through an e.u.a. or a b.l.a. >>oodruff: when is your best understanding, dr. anthony fauci, when we'll see full approval for 12 to 15-year-olds, and any approval for children who are younger than 12? >> doctor: let's start with the children who are younger than 12. what you have is we are already doing, together with the companies, what is called an age deescalation and dose adjustment for younger children. and you do it from 11 to 9, from 9 to 6, from 6 to 2, and then from 6 months to two years. the data have been actively collected.
we will probably have enough data by the time we get to the early to mid-fall, and then they will be presented to the f.a. then it becomes a regulatory decision, judy, where you balance safety for children against the efficacy and the immunoization and all of the other factors that go into it. the data will be there by the middle of the fall. the f.d.a. will have to do what they do well, will have to make a risk/benefit analysis of whatever safety signals, which are good safety, depending on the full benefits of the children. >> woodruff: andfull approval for 12 to 15? >> >> doctor: i don't want to get ahead of the f.d.a., but they will look at and determine the risk/benefit ratio. what they're going to
figure out, if you look at the benefit in those children of that age, compared to the risk, which is very, very small, but you want to do a balance. they haven't done that yet because they're still examining the safety data. when they get the safety data, they will then make the same determination that they made with 16 and older. >> woodruff: and last question, dr. fauci, when do you think we'll see full f.d.a. approval for the moderna vaccine and for the j & j? >> doctor: well, i don't think people should interpret, by any means, that there is any difference in safety or efficacy with that because pfizer came f3rst. pfizer presented their data in a very timely way to the f.d.a. moderna is a bit behind in the presentation of their data to the f.d.a. that doesn't mean that the data is any less affective or less safe.
it is just that the timing of when they presented -- so as soon as they get their data presented in a way that the f.d.a. can look at it in the same meticulous way, you're going to see very likely the same thing. they've already accepted some of the data from moderna and from j & j. they don't have the full package yet. and when they do -- they may have the full package and they' still examining it, but the timing was a little different. so people need to understand it is a timing issue, not an efficacy or a safety issue. >> woodruff: dr. anthony fauci, we appreciate, as always, you're joining us. thank you. >> doctor: thank you for having me. always good to be with you. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, there's more deadly chaos outside the kabul airport in afghanistan. but inside, the pace of
evacuations is accelerating, eight days after the country's capital fell to the taliban. the u.s. military flew out more than 10,000 people in the last 24 hours. it is unclear though, whether evacuations can finish by august 31st as originally planned we'll get a report from kabul, after the news summary. search crews across middle tennessee are still looking through a flooded landscape tonight. at least 22 people died in saturday's disaster with a dozen others missing. stephanie sy has our report: >> sy: fire and police combed through wreckage and spent another day searching for possible victims and assessing the damage. >> houses are washed away, knocked off foundations, just totally gone. >> sy: some are still reported missing after the storm dumped 17 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, surpassing the state's previous single-day record by three inches.
some parts of the city of waverly were almost unrecognizable. governor bill lee toured the damage yesterday. >> it is a devastating picture of loss and heartache in one of our tennessee communities. >> sy: local authorities said this afternoon the next 24 hours of the search are crucial and difficult. >> there's still a lot of debris in and along the creek that needs to be examined but that's a painstaking process. >> sy: police have not yet confirmed the names of the dead. but families say they ranged in age. an official confirmed to the newshour that seven-month-old twins were among the victims. a go fund me page said they were swept from their father's arms. governor lee said he spoke with families who described how quickly the situation turned life-threatening. >> they would see water in their yard and within minutes it was coming in their home. and then they would move to a neighbor who had a second floor
because within literally within about a five or 10 minute period of time, they went from seeing floodwaters rise to not being able to escape their homes. >> sy: kansas klein owns a business in waverly. >> i mean, it's a total loss. we had about six feet of water inside the restaurant, all the equipment, everything has been destroyed, flipped over, washed out. >> sy: theain and flooding in tennessee are yet one more example of extreme weather's deadly consequences. while no single weather event can be directly linked to climate change, scientists say it's making events like what they're experiencing in tennessee extreme weather events more intense and frequent. for the pbs newshour i'm stephanie sy. >> woodruff: remnants of tropical storm "henri" lingered over the northeast and new england today, triggering flood warnings. parts of new jersey saw eight inches of rain after the system came ashore sunday. in monroe township, some people had to be rescued by boat. >> my house is gone and my car is gone, so i'm starting-- i'll be starting from square one.
i'm lucky i have friends in the community that i can stay with, but it's a disaster just trying to pull stuff out. it's crazy. it was about three feet in and five feet out and when i went to walk out to the emergency-- to the boat-- it was up to about here on me. >> woodruff: across the region, more than 130,000 customers lost power at one point. more than 13,000 firefighters in california worked again today to contain a dozen big wildfires. most are in northern california, including the "caldor" fire. crews worked through the weekend as that fire burned largely out of control in dry, windy conditions. it has already burned nearly 700 homes. an internal investigation has cleared a u.s. capitol police officer who shot and killed a woman on january 6th. ashli babbitt joined members of a pro-trump mob trying to force their way into the u.s. house chamber. the investigation found that "the officer's conduct was
lawful and within department policy." new york governor andrew cuomo used his last day in office, today, to defend himself against sexual harassment allegations. the state attorney general found this month that cuomo harassed 11 women. but, in a recorded farewell address, the governor said he'd been the victim of a media frenzy. >> the attorney general's report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic and it worked. there was a political and media stampede but the truth will out in time, of that i am confident. >> woodruff: cuomo leaves office just before midnight. shortly after that, lieutenant governor kathy hochul will be sworn in as new york's first female governor. the u.s. house of representatives is back from its august break, with majority democrats facing a crucial week.
moderates want to vote first on a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. progressives want the first vote to be a budget resolution calling for $3.5 trillion for social and environmental programs. and,n wall street, oil prices and tech stocks helped push the broader market higher. the dow jones industrial average gained 215 points to close at 35,335. the nasdaq rose 228 points, 1.5%, to a record close. the s&p 500 added 37. still to come on the newshour: on the ground at the kabul airport amidst the fall of afghanistan. and our politics monday team breaks down what the chaotic exit means for president biden.
>> woodruff: the evacuation operation from kabul is accelerating, with more than 10,000 people airlifted out of afghanistan in the last 24 hours. but thousands remain to be rescued, and with just over a week left before the august 31st deadline set by president biden, the taliban said today they would not agree to an extension no matter what the u.s. and its allies and partners say. with the support of the pulitzer center, jane ferguson reports again tonight from kabul's airport. >> reporter: another morning at kabul airport brings with it more people, and more desperate pleas to be allowed in. every day, thousands of men and women, clutching pieces of paper, military id cards, even old photographs, search for someone to talk to. an immigration official. anyone with answers.
all they find are heavily armed soldiers. >> we have lots of documents but unfortunately we don't have any answers from the visa. >> reporter: so you applied for the s.i.v.? >> we applied but we didn't get any answer. >> reporter: when did you apply? >> last week. >> reporter: you applied when you heard the evacuation was happening? >> yes. >> reporter: s.i.v.s, or special immigrant visas, are meant to be for those who worked as interpreters for the u.s. military here. getting one has for years been an infuriatingly slow and complex process. earlier this month the state department said afghans who didn't qualify for the siv program but were still at risk for their affiliation with the u.s., like those who worked for us-aid funded projects, or american news outlets, could apply to the u.s.'s refugee program. >> we're working hard and as fast as we can to get people out. >> reporter: in reality, this was too late, as the taliban
took over kabul nine days ago, many were left unprepared, not least of all, the u.s. government. >> we didn't have time for the visa. the taliban thinks my father is working for nato that he is a foreign spy, okay? we need help. i don't know why they are not accepting these documents. we have lots of documents. >> reporter: but for the s.i.v. they say that you need to have an application number. >> i know, i know. >> reporter: do you think that you can get a number and maybe come back? >> i know. but we don't have time. because we are hiding in kabul. >> reporter: a few have resorted to waving the flags of the nations they worked with. everyone has some sort of paperwork, but the system of checking has collapsed. even passport-holders from nato countries have trouble getting through. the american soldiers here are not immigratn officials, and have little idea either as to who qualifies to be allowed in.
an informal rule of u.s. passport and green card holders only has become the new reality. the people on this side are being held here by american soldiers. but over here we have a massive crush of people and the british forces are trying to keep them back. the difficulty for people here is that they are being told that they don't qualify and they are not going to be allowed in at all. at least 20 people have died so far in the crush of the crowds including one two year old child, according to "the new york times." her mother? a former u.s. military interpreter trying to get out. overnight, a gunman opened fire on afghan forces monitoring access to the rport te, killing at lst one afghan soldier and wounding several more. u.s. central command said no u.s. or coalition service members were injured. each day brings more bodies in the street. and those who succumb to the
brutal summer heat, forced to wait in the open for days. there are no bathrooms. the entire area is an open toilet. taliban fighters watch on. even they seem stunned by the situation. back in washington, white house national security advisor jake sullivan said the u.s. is in regular contact with the taliban to ensure that the evacuation operation is secure. he would not confirm whether the august 31st deadline would be extended; the taliban said today that would be a redline for them, if the u.s. is not gone by the end of the month. >> in the days remaining, we believe we have the wherewithal to get out the american citizens who want to leave kabul. we are in touch with the taliban daily, we are in touch with our allies and partners, we are reviewing our progress in this particular operation, which we feel has been substantial over the past few days. >> reporter: sullivan also confirmed that the u.s. is doing biometric and biographic screening on all afghan refugees granted admission to the u.s.
before they arrive. today white house officials reported 28 u.s. military flights have evacuated some 10,400 people from kabul over the last 24 hours. the u.s. has now relocated about 42,000 people since the end of july. pentagon spokesman john kirby confirmed u.s. helicopters are also being used to ferry out americans still trapped inside the capital city. >> our commanders on the ground are doing what they feel they need to do to help americans reach the airport. there has been at least one additional instance where rotary airlift was used to help americans get from outside the airport into the airport. >> reporter: while politicians in washington scramble to manage the fallout from this crisis, american and allied soldiers are dealing with it face to face. almost 6,000 u.s. marines and paratroopers from the 82nd airborne division are on the ground to support the emergency evacuations.
no training can prepare soiers for something like thi-a sea of human trauma. it's a near impossible task, one profoundly testing. shaking tempers, and bringing out acts of compassion. inside the u.s. air base, the chaplain for the 82nd airborne, lieutenant colonel pinkie fischer, in her 16 years of service and spiritual counseling in the military, she has never had to deal with so many in emotional need. how in demand are you right now? >> oh, wow. from the time i get up, to the time i go to bed. i mean, i'm getting maybe three hours of sleep a night. >> reporter: because people need to talk to you. >> yeah, they'll come off shift or even during shift. they'll see me and they'll say¡ chaplain do you have a minute?' that's usually the call sign,¡ chaplain do you have a minute?' >> reporter: the moral injury of having to turn people away, and play a role in their pain, is weighing on many here. >> they are looking at local
hurting, that pulls on you. >> some are married with children of their own. i think they're looking at local nationals and they see their family in their own eyes. i think that's what pulls them, especially children. i think that pulls every human being, is to see c so any time you see a child hurt or they look like they are hurting, that pulls on you. and i think that's what's tugging on a lot of soldiers. they are ready to fight an enemy but you don't touch kids. >> reporter: kids are especially vulnerable to being lost in the crowds. this missing poster appealing for information about a little girl. on the u.s. base, a collection of lost young boys, separated from their parents at the gates, are being cared for. >> he doesn't know if his parents are in the u.s. or afghanistan. >> reporter: these boys have been through a terrifying ordeal, and still aren't sure when or where they will see their mom and dad. "there were so many people at the gate and everybody was pushing,” this boy tells us.
for the ones whose parents are on planes to america officials here have written ¡usa' on the back of their little hands. they will follow behind soon joining these long lines by the runway, shuffling between a life left behind and an unknown, new one. these are the fortunate few, for whom promises made by politicians have been kept. most others will bed down the best they can outside the airport gates, waiting for another day, and another chance to make it out of here. >> woodruff: and jane joins me again, from kabul. jane, so moving to see those children and your conversation with the chaplain. but to the poll politics of this, what is the reaction on the ground right now to the word from the taliban that they are not going to go along, they say, with extending the deadline for exit past august 31st?
>> reporter: it seems, judy, they're taking that very seriously. that has massive implications here if the taliban really mean it. because, of course, that means that the deadline is hard. that there is very, very little time to get out not only the rest of the americans here left here and green-card-holders, but other citizens of afghanistan who have helped american forces, who have been involved in america's development projects here. many other people are entitled to apply for visas, and may be entitled to board those flights. but whether or not they'll be able to by the 3st is very unclear. up until now, there had been hopes, and president biden had mentioned they might have to extend beyond then, and they would do it if they needed to get more americans out. if that is really not an option, then that really kicks into motion nowhe evacuation of the evacuateds. the people on the ground. i'm in a base surrendered by british soldiers, and all are dependent on the americans being here
because of that air support and the facilities and the capabilities. so everybody else that is here will be watching to see when the americans will need to be packed up because they'll need to be packed up first. >> woodruff: no question then about whether the u.s. would do this without taliban approval. but, jane, is it getting any easier at all for people to get to the airport? we've seen u.s. officials saying that they are taking masures to extract people from around the country. >> reporter: it is becoming... [no audio] >> woodruff: i don't kn whether you can hear me, jane. is it getting any easier at all for people to get into the airport? >> reporter: it is definitely -- it is becoming a lot more frantic at the moment in terms of getting people
out. they are willing to do more and to go further, as you've heard. as you've heard from the pentag, they've been sending helicopters out to pick people up, but there are still other americans to be extracted from kabul. and not just from kabul, but from around the country. the advance of the taliban, the fall of the capitol happened so quickly, very few people were able to prepare for it or were ready. we've even seen other nato nationalities, europes showing up at the gates with passports, but struggling to get to the front of of the crowds and struggling to get in, and having to get through the chaos of this process that doesn't really exist in certain senses. when we first arrived here a week ago, and there was -- it was a lot easier to get inside bases because if you could show paperwork, if you could show the promise of a visa, an acceptance e-mail, then it was easier to get in. but as the system has
become more strained, and as the scenes at the gates have become much more chaotic, it seems to be becoming harder. and some are aware that sometimes having a connection on the inside or knowing someone inside the base, might just be enough to get you across the doorway. there is an awareness that the system is not always particularly fair. >> woodruff: and finally, jane, we heard your reporting about the shooting incident outside the airport last night. just how unstable is e security there? >> reporter: there is a fear that it is becoming increasingly unstable. you can't really secure this area. these are roads around the airport that have taliban checkpoints on them. thousands and thousands of desperate civilians and soldiers from u.s. and nato and partner nations all over the place, all intermingling almost. so it is a chaotic scene, and certainly one that is
very vulnerable to attack. we have also heard from intelligence warnings, from various governments, saying isis could target the area, that they could send in a suicide bomber to the area, and that there is a significantly higher threat of that. now, i think that that is something that was always a threat in kabul, it is worth noting. isis has menaced the capitol for years. they have been known for huge suicide attacks and complex terror attacks that attack civilians. they are, of course, the sworn enemies of the taliban. so if the taliban want to look like they have the situation under control, then isis would very much want to counter that. now, the incidentthat happened at the airport that ended up killing a member of the afghan security forces, we haven't heard very much information about this, beyond some statements that were given by the german military, as well as the pentagon, saying that a sniper kill an
afghan commando, and there was then an exchange of fire in which some other afghan security forces were injured. but this the first such shooting since it began. it ups the sense of insecurity, and the reminder that all of the forces based at the airport are surrendered by the taliban at all times. >> woodruff: jane ferguson, remarkable reporting. thank you so much. and, again, please stay safe. thank you, jane. >> reporter: thank you, judy. >> woodruf >> woodruff: for those afghans who braved the taliban's violence and desperate crowds to get to the kabul airport, their challenges do not end when they arrive. the process for getting afghans to the u.s. is full of logistical and bureaucratic challenges. lisa desjardins has been talking to lawmakers, n.g.o. workers, refugees and others about those shortcomings, and she joins me now.
lisa, as we said, you've been talking to all of these folks. you've been talking to people around the country. were you shared your notes with us in the middle of the night, in fact, last night. tell us what is happening at this point with all these efforts to get these afghans to safety. >> i spent days working on this, and i have to say it would be an improvement to call this a bureaucratic nightmare. it is not even clear what the bureaucratic path is for isn't of these afghans. essentially what you have right now is an army, an undesignated army of n.g.o.s, and thousands of individual americans who have some close, and sometimes not very close relationships with an afghan family, that is pleading for help to try to navigate the path that jane was reporting for. how do you get that application to the gate of the kabul airport? and what is that worth? right now we have a situation where even congressional offices, which we know obviously do
have a priority path to the state department, even they're having trouble figuring out how can you get any visa, which kind of visa is working, and the kinds of documents they're asking for are changing on a regular basis. we spoke to mike gallagher, a retired marine intelligence officer, and even has that trouble getting through the people he thinks need to get out. here is what he said. >> it shouldn't take having to call a member of congress, let alone be a member of congress, to get help. if you're an american or if you're an afghan that risked your life, we should be doing everything possible to protect you right now and get you out of the couny. and so it is unfortunate that we're having to make up a lot of this process on the fly. i think it speaks to the level of planning that did not occur on the front end. but that's where we are. >> reporter: now, some people have called this a digital dunkirk. i spoke to one afghan here
who is trying to get his family out. he was a translator for the u.s. he says when you are drowning, you reach or anything. this is like afghans drowning in the dark. they're trying to reach for anything they can. >> woodruff: so what would you say is the attitude of the afgha? are they able to hold out any hope? >> i've been hearing stories of afghans who are in hiding in kabul, not even attempting to get to the airport because they're waiting for the paperwork, if it ever comes. they actually do have hope. and those here in this country, afghan refugees, do have hope. but it is difficult for the n.g.o.s and the americans who are helping them because the americans aren't so sure that that hpe is justified. they're not sure that the path really exists. once the afghans connect with an american, oh, i think i have the contact that will get me through. but the americans and even members of congress are really not so sure. there is one reason to hope in the last couple of days: the numbers of people getting out of kabul have increased dramaticly. we have seen for the last two days 10,000 evacuees
today, 10,000 yesterday. so total, this is unbelievable, almost 50,000 people have been evacuated by the u.s. in the last week. that is a reason for hope. however, as jane reports, it is still chaos at the airport. >> woodruff: and a week to go. and what about the refugees who are able to get out, and some who have already come to the united states? >> americans should realize they have come to the united states. there will be a huge need for these refugees as they come. i want to look at some of the numbers. there are 34,500 visas available for special immigrants out of afghanistan, many have been used, and there is still some 14,000 available. and the number of afghans fillaffiliated with the u.s., 300,000. so we're talking about hundreds of thousands of afghans who may have needs. how many will come here, we don't know. but we know refugee agencies, including one in the washington area,
really need resources. the refugees are coming. some with i.d., some not, by the way. i think this is going to be a very long story that we're going to have to pay a lot of attention to. and we need the washington, d.c. department of defense -- there is discussion if the department of defense needs to house some of these refugees when they come here. >> woodruff: i remember when all of this was aping with the vietnam refugees, that went on for a very long time. lisa desjardins, thank you so much. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: it is a critical week at the white house, from managing afghanistan to cajoling fellow democrats on capitol. to analyze both, i'm joined by lisa lerer of the "new york times." and errin haines of "the 19th."
amy walter and tamara keith are away. to both of you, as we've been hearing, we've been discussing covid, afghanistan, enormous issues confronting this white house. and right now, errin, the president is facing criticism -- some support, but a lot of criticism, not just from republicans, but from members of his own party. how is that different, what the democrats are saying, many calling for investigations, and does it suggest in some way that the president is gog to be able to get through this or not? >> well, i think it is still early days, judy. we're a week into this afghanistan exit, and certainly the handling of this is something that folks are wanting accountability for. you have the president
telling george stepanopoulos in that interview, even in his months ahead of what we have seen unfold in the last week, that he knew there was going to be a chaotic process. obviously that is exactly what is unfolding, and, yes, you absolutely have some folks even within the democratic party who are really being very critical of the administration's response. and you see the administration being increasingly responsive. the president delaying going back to wilmington so he could look responsible on this issue. so many administration officials out on the sunday shows over the weekend, even today trying to engage with members of the press, trying to appease them as they continue to kind of raise questions about the way that this exit is being handled, and what folks can expect going frward, particularly vulnerable afghanees who were helpful to us who were helpful
during thirs this war. the women and girls who will be vulnerable under this regime. the democrats are saying there could be hearings soassoon as this week, dealing with accountability from the biden administration. i think even as -- this is early, and i think we're going to continue to see folks even within his own party, as well as obviously democrats and members of the political press continuing to try to hold this administration accountable, and them continuing to try to respond. >> woodruff: and, lisa, to you, how do you see this distinction between what democrats are saying, what republicans are saying about the administrati's handling of afghanistan while they are in the middle of dealing with this full-blown crisis? >> well, republicans as would be expected are taking a much harder line against the administration than democrats. the democratic criticism,
while notable because it is the first time we have heard democrats breaking with the administration since president biden came into office, is quite a bit more restrained, which the white house is taking as a good sign. the white house is betting here politically that as this story fades from a constant rotation on tv news and from the headlines, the american public will forget how this was handed, and by the time we get to the mid-term la elections 15 months from now, the president and his administtion will get credit for getting americans out of afghanistan. that is a political gamble. a lot of democrats, while in public they're a bit restrained in their criticism, privately say they're quite worried, and they look at some of the arguments coming out of the republicans who are basically trying to use this to make a larger case against the administration, painting this as incompetent leadership, failed sleetsleadership, and they see
it as a narrative, a narrative that could be damaging for democrats, because their fate, for better or worse, is intimately tied to how the white house does. >> woodruff: there is always a lot on the president's plate, and right now is not just afghanistan. it is, as we mentioned, of course covid. and it is also, errin, the infrastructure legislation, which the white house has been trying to get congress to approve for months. critical votes coming up in the house of representatives this week. interesting pressure on both the democratic leadership, where again nancy pelosi faces the split we referred to earlier between progressives and moderates in her own party, and pressures on kevin mccarthy, the republican leader. to both of you, i'm interested in what the political calculus looks like for leaders in both parties right now in the house. >> yeah, judy, one thing that is interesting, is a
new term we're learning this week, conservative democrat, which you saw progressive democrats using to frame moderate democrats who are not getting on board with this infrastructure package, and kind of making getting this n thing across the finish line more challenging than the administration thought this was going to be. particularly given how popular the american rescue plan has been with american voters, and that as these voters have started to get things like their child tax credit checks, seeing the kind of direct relief from their government on the pandemic, which was a lot of the voters that i certainly spoke to last year said they voted for, wanting their government to be responsible for especially the economic part of this pandemic. and so we're i august now. we know that the focus is about to turn again from governing back to campaigning. and so i think for both parties, looking to able
to hit the campaign trail was something -- with a message to voters on what they've been delivering this year is very important. it will be interesting to see. we certainly know that minority leader mccarthy and speaker pelosi are not friends by any stretch. and so, you know, the tactic he takes in terms of the message he gives to his party about whether to get on board with this, whether that is politically beneficial to him, you know, we haven't seen that yet. but i think it will be interesting to see how that plays out in terms of how that moves things ahead on this issue. >> woodruff: lisa lerer, in 30 seconds, what do you think? >> i think part of the place -- of course speaker pelosi is the person to watch on this. what this story is really telling us is about the larger divide in the democratic party, the divides between the moderate and the liable wing that has been ing on for sx years.
while progressives have the upper hand on policy, but i think you have two factions of the party that are both in power, and i think speaker pelosi has quite the knot to untangle to get this thing through. >> woodruff: quite the knot to untangle, and we'll be watching it this week. there could be a vote in the nextay or so. lisa lerer and errin haines, thank you both. we appreciate it. >> woodruff: some problems find solutions in unexpected places. the medical community often faces a challenge of reaching black men for care. marisa wojcik of pbs wisconsin looks at an innovative approach using the local barbershop. >> i had this idea when i used to come and get my hair cut of course when i had hair. i would come over to the barber
shop and i would hear guys just talking about all types of health problems. >> reporter: having made his own health a priority after finding out he was diabetic, aaron perry became concerned about the effects of the medical community being unable to reach black men. >> why can't we figure out how to keep black men alive longer than 51 years of age? >> we're seeing black men with increasingly higher rates of cancer, lung disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure. >> reporter: dr. jasmine zapata is the chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for community health promotion at the wisconsin department of health services, a long title for what she calls... >> a disease detective. >> reporter: when it comes to impacting long-term health issues... >> prevention is key. instead of waiting until after a problem comes up and then going to the doctor to work on fixing
it, we need to do everything that we can to reach people where they're at. >> why don't we bring the medical community to the barber shop? so i pitched that idea to jeff patterson, the owner. >> it was a no-brainer. >> reporter: within months the rebalanced-life wellness association, the first ever men's health center of its kind opened attached to the j.p. hair design barber shop in madison. >> we do blood pressure screenings. we do flu shots. we do diabetes testing. we do glucose testing. we do cholesterol testing and it's always going to be free as long as i'm alive, you know? >> reporter: but there is something else the barber shop provides that makes this model so successful. >> it's a trust thing. i think barbers have a good persuasion over their clients because there's trust between the client and barber. >> when we talk about trust, it is not just credentis.
building trust in relationships when you are making important healthcare decisions for yourself and your family members, you need to know that person is reliable. social connectivity is so important and also in many of these spaces you're not alone. >> the barbers, you know, they just know everything about all of their clientele. >> marriage, kids, work problems, working out, everything. >> there's just always a place of peace when you come here. >> reporter: for people of color, trust in health outcomes are rooted in factors beyond the medical field. >> suctural racism contributes directly to unequal access to wealth, housing, food and healthcare. all these things have a profound impact on how long people live and how healthy they are. >> reporter: and health outcomes span generations. >> we're still feeling the ripple effects of many things that happened hundreds of years ago in our communities. in that setting that has had an impact on people's actual
biology. >> reporter: the health education centers have expanded to two more barber shops in the greater madison area and student nurses from a local college conduct the health screenings. >> i come in usually every two weeks, every other week, me and my son to get our hair cut. >> i've always wanted to see my blood pressure, to get my blood pressure to make sure my health is good. >> i know a loof things about people nobody else knows. now if i learn something here, i can just quietly tell them go back there and check it out. >> reporter: aaron is still setting his sights higher, hoping to open centers in other states and become the nation's first federally-qualified health center in a barber shop. >> we're making this a priority because we don't have the luxury of waiting. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm marisa wojcik in madison, wisconsin. >> woodruff: a group of prominent writers has come
together in an innovative way during the pandemic to reckon with these divisive times. its mission statement: "the nation is injured. jeffrey brown has a look for our arts and culture series, canvas. >> i'm curious about how history might serve this particular moment and offer a measure of >> brown: it's a simple format: two or three writers reading their work and talking to one another about words, the writing life, and the role of literature today. it's called “write america.” >> i started it because of the divisions in the country that became so evident and so violent that one askedwhat could you do about this? >> brown: “write america” is the creation of journalist and author roger rosenblatt. >> i asked just a basic question: what can writers do for such a situation? is there something writers can do? >> brown: and what's the answer to that? >> we reach into our minds and hearts for the things we write about, the suffering of people, the injustices that people go through, the happinesses, the treacheries, the heroism, all the things that are available to writers. and we share them with others.
so if we share them with other, the others must find commonalities in what we are writing. of those commonalities, make healing rather than divisions. >> brown: rosenblatt is familiar to longtime newshour viewers for his 23 years as an essayist on the program.“ write america”, currently live- streamed by book revue bookstore in huntington, new york, has now featured some 90 established and emerging writers. there are poets such as recent pulitzer prize winner, natalie diaz. novelists, including meg wolitzer. >> that is the thing about writing, we do it alone but it is a collective experience, that pain that you are talking about, >> brown: unexpected pairings such as carlos fonseca and rose styron. to think that faulkner led to garcia marquez and to toni morrison is just lovely, right? >> two things happen which has been very gratifying. one is to see the camaraderie
among the writers themselves. every week, writers all chip in to that column of chat that you see on the right of the screen when you do one of these things and they are asking questions of one another and applauding one another. and that i never saw before because writers, well you know are not a group. they're usually mavericks or hermits or worse the general audience then latches on to what is being read. if there is sadness in something autobiographical, there's beauty in a poem, if there's something about honor or there's something about loneliness, they latch onto it and they comment. >>rown: there's a clear play on the word ¡write' w-r-i-t-e and the word ¡right' r-i-g-h-t. >> and as you say it, i start to and the whole idea of it was a kind of, i guess, a sort of bad pun on the idea of making
america right. that is not ¡right wing' and not that there was one view of¡ right'. but making it realize what its own potential always was. i mean, this country was founded on words, after all. people a long time ago put some words together and said, ¡this is america'. so, this is america. >> brown: but roger, still help me understand the position of literature and politics as you see it, because i'm guessing that most, maybe all, the writers you're featuring come from one side of the political spectrum. >> that's true, and that was one of my concerns that we'd be just preaching to the choir. but we're not preaching, for one thing. auden has a wonderful quotatio“" truth like love and sleep resents all approaches too intense.” what we wanted to do was to just do our business and deal with the feelings that writing then celebrates and makes evident. now you say, alright, well, you are preaching to the choir after
all' and i think largely that may be so. however, you cannot tell me that a conservative responds to king lear much differently from a liberal. that when you have literature, really great literature as most of our writers produce available to any side, they respond not to the politics of the situation but to the humanness of the situation. >> brown: and what's next. what's next for this? >> i'm happy to say we're going to a second seasonn 2022, and discussions in libraries and in book clubs following each reading for write america. so that we, in a sense, extend the effect of the thing. >> brown: all right, the project is write america. roger rosenblatt, thanks so much. >> thank you, jeff >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. of these institutions >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
♪ hello, everyone and welcome to "amanpour & co." here's what's coming up. desperation inabul as a scramble to evacuate continues, chaos reigns. i'll sak to the inspector general for afghanistan as he reflects on american failures. then -- >> i've got to believe tha what we're seeing right now is not in our interest. >> more on the painful lessons of afghanistan with general joseph botel who oversaw the war until 2019. if we leave racism unattendedit will harm the country in a