PBS NewsHour full episode, July 5, 2021
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff. On the "NewsHour" tonight: The search goes on. The remainder of the partially collapsed Surfside, Florida, condominium is demolished, giving crews additional places to look for survivors and remains. Then: reflecting on the mission. Members of the National Guard discuss their controversial deployment to fight the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And 75 years of marriage. Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, reflect
on their lives together and the current state of American politics. JIMMY CARTER, Former President of the United States: I believe that we have overcome even worse and more serious problems in the past than we have to face today. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."
(BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Crews in Surfside, Florida, pulled three more bodies from the ruins of a collapsed condominium building today. The confirmed death toll rose to 27, with 118 still missing. Overnight, a controlled demolition leveled the remaining wing of the tower. Today, the
Miami-Dade County mayor said it cleared the way for the search to resume. DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA (D), Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Florida: The area closest to the building was the area we had not been able to access. And that is where we needed to go. And, previously, it was not accessible due to the enormous risk to the team of first responders because of the instability of the building. And, as we speak, the teams are
working on that part of the pile that was not accessible before the building was demolished. JUDY WOODRUFF: The demolition was accelerated amid earlier fears that Tropical Storm Elsa could bring down the rest of the building. The storm crossed Central Cuba today, on track to pass over the Florida Keys and then to the state's West Coast by Wednesday.
On the pandemic, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England is set to drop face masks and social distancing requirements, despite rising infections. A final decision will come next week. Other parts of the United Kingdom are under their own plans. Meanwhile, daily infections in the U.S. have risen nearly 20 percent in two weeks. That's according to a count in The New York Times.
Hundreds of companies worldwide struggled to cope today with the biggest ransomware attack on record. A Russian-linked group demanded $70 million dollars. It breached software supplier Kaseya on Friday, and infected the firm's clients in 17 countries, including Germany. ARNE SCHOENBOHM, Federal Office For Information Security, Germany (through translator): There certainly will be more. Kaseya had many I.T. service providers as clients. Some have already reported breaches. And I assume that there will be more in the course of today and in the course of this week. It is a dynamic situation of danger which is evolving here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The hackers, known as REvil, were also involved in extorting $11 million from the U.S.-based meat processor JBS back in may. There's been no letup in gun violence in the United States over the holiday weekend. In Chicago, at least 12 people were fatally shot, with 40 wounded. Overall, the city has had more shootings, but fewer killings, this year than last. Three people were shot and killed in Dallas late Sunday. And, in Cincinnati, two people were killed and three others wounded
at a fireworks show last night. In Afghanistan, the government vowed to launch a counteroffensive in the north, after the Taliban captured more districts over the weekend. Hundreds of Afghan troops fled into neighboring Tajikistan. In turn, Taliban fighters said they will keep up the pressure. MAN (through translator): The only thing that will persuade me to put down my gun is if there's Islamic law here, based entirely on Islam, and the government is run according to Islamic rules. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Taliban surge comes as the U.S. and NATO are completing their pullout
ahead of a September 11 deadline. Rescuers in Japan have spent a third day looking for survivors of a landslide on Saturday that killed at least four people. It struck the city of Atami, about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo, leaving 80 people unaccounted for. Heavy rain triggered the slide, and crews have been digging through mud and debris along a steep hillside. Hundreds of troops, firefighters
and others are involved. And the Vatican reports that Pope Francis is in good condition tonight after intestinal surgery on Sunday. The 84-year-old pontiff had half of his colon removed due to a narrowing of the large intestine. He's expected to remain hospitalized in Rome for about a week. Still to come on the "NewsHour": what's at the heart of the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history; reflecting on the National Guard's service in the fight for our freedom; augmented reality -- how we can rethink what a monument represents in this moment of racial reckoning; and much more.
With the final military withdrawal from Afghanistan under way, a few state legislators are reconsidering the use of their National Guard units for undeclared foreign wars, like the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly half of the troops deployed to Iraq and both countries over the past 20 years were from the National Guard and Reserves. Special correspondent Mike Cerre looks now at how some National Guardsmen themselves are seeking to limit the deployment of units like theirs unless Congress formally declares a state of war. SERGEANT 1ST CLASS JOHN BRASWELL, Alabama National Guard: If they're waving at you, you know they're not holding a gun.
MIKE CERRE: I first met Sergeant 1st Class John Braswell on his yearlong deployment to Afghanistan with his Alabama National Guard Special Forces unit in 2002. SERGEANT 1ST CLASS JOHN BRASWELL: I work for a software company in the real world, so it's a little different. I guess I was a little surprised that they would activate a National Guard Special Forces battalion almost right at the outset of the conflict. MIKE CERRE: So were his two sons and wife, Laura. LAURA BRASWELL, Wife of Sergeant 1st Class John Braswell: He took a significant pay cut.
And we were sort of forced to sell our home. Up until that point, we had done two weeks in the summer and one weekend every month. MIKE CERRE: Former Idaho National Guardsmen Dan McKnight and Kent Burns both reenlisted on 9/11, expecting and anxious for their National Guard units to be sent to Afghanistan, but not, as it turned out, multiple tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan the past 20 years. DAN MCKNIGHT, Defend the Guard: And so i became very disillusioned. And I came home confused.
I came home injured. I came home broke. I came home to a broken marriage. MIKE CERRE: Idaho National Guard units have been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq 15 of the last 20 years since 9/11. KENT BURNS, National Guard Veteran: I expected this all to be over. But in the last 18 to 20 years, it just keeps continuing, and the mission for the National Guard needs to be changed.
MIKE CERRE: Traditionally, the National Guard has been activated by their states for domestic emergencies, like natural disasters, civil disturbances, and the current COVID medical crisis. But they also provide support and backup to the active-duty military for overseas operations. MAN: Our guys are getting shot up. We need those buildings dropped now. MIKE CERRE: But since 9/11, the National Guard has sent more of its units overseas than it has since World War II, some as frequently as once every three years. In 2005, over half
of the troops serving in Iraq were from the National Guard, according to the National Guard Bureau and its operations director, Brigadier General Nick Ducich. BRIG. GEN. NICK DUCICH, National Guard Bureau: In the past 20 years, the major transition has been from a strategic reserve to a combat, operationally focused reserve capability. MIKE CERRE: The federal government pays the cost to recruit, train and equip the state's National Guards. Their commanders and chiefs, the state governors, are obligated to make
them available in the case of national security threats. What's at issue here is, what's a national security threat, in this, the age of undeclared wars, which every American war has been since World War II? LT. GOV. JANICE MCGEACHIN (R-ID): Well, then, fine. If it's a real true threat to the United States and our interest, again, as it's stated in our Constitution, then Congress should do their job, and they should have a formal declaration of war. MIKE CERRE: Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin supports legislative initiatives to restrict the use of a state's National Guard in undeclared wars, which she believes are not included in Article 1 of the Constitution allowing federal use of state's militia for executing the laws of the nation, suppressing insurrections and repelling invasions. DAN MCKNIGHT: It should be difficult to take our state militias and our active-duty military into war. Without a congressional declaration of war, we have no business fighting in these
foreign overseas misadventures. And so I don't see it as an anti-war. I see it as a pro-Constitution measure. MIKE CERRE: McKnight, both a former Marine and Army veteran, launched the Defend the Guard initiative, with other veterans and politicians from both parties to limit foreign deployments of National Guard troops only to wars formally declared by Congress. The 2001 war on terror resolution has allowed the past four presidents to send National Guard troops to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq without a declaration of war. DAN MCKNIGHT: Citizen soldiers were always meant to be the ones that defended America, not a standing army. And so, if America needs to go to war, we should do it the right way.
STATE REP. BEN ADAMS (R-ID): Now is the time to push back, to lay claim to our sovereignty as a state. MIKE CERRE: Idaho State Representative Been Adams, a former Marine and Afghanistan veteran, is trying to get the Defend the Guard initiative passed in Idaho, as are legislators in 30 other states, with little success thus far in getting it to a vote. BRIG. GEN. DAVID MCGINNIS (RET.), Former Defense Department Official: The state restrictions
are highly unlikely, because there's already a Supreme Court decision, Perpich vs. the U.S., that dates back to the Reagan administration. MIKE CERRE: Former National Guard Bureau Deputy Chief of Staff Brigadier general David McGinnis doesn't believe the states will be able to limit federal control of the National Guard. BRIG. GEN. DAVID MCGINNIS: Once the Guard is mobilized for federal service in the context
of any law or mobilized for training, federal training, as a reserve of the Army or Air Force, the states have no control over what the president or the Department of Defense does with those units once they're in that status. DAN MCKNIGHT: It's hindered them because they're sometimes gone from their communities in times of real emergencies stateside, like the Louisiana National Guard being gone during Katrina, or the Oregon National Guard being pulled off the fires last season in the worst firefighting season in their state history and sent to Afghanistan with the helicopters that they should've been fighting fires with. MIKE CERRE: In the past, people who sign up for the National Guard really weren't thinking about going active-duty or being deployed or certainly going to war. Has that all changed? KENT BURNS: It definitely has changed. In the old days, it was join the National Guard to avoid Vietnam. After 9/11, that -- to me, that all changed. We were all in it to win
it and to be war fighters and not just a state mission. Now I feel like we have to bring that back. MIKE CERRE: The Idaho National Guard declined our interview request, but sent us its rebuttal for giving the state the option to limit overseas deployments. It included the possibility of cutting federal military funding for not making the states units available when called on. LT. GOV. JANICE MCGEACHIN: Why would the federal government pull all that away? It wouldn't
make any sense. So, I think it's time to start asserting our sovereignty as states. MIKE CERRE: Governor Brad Little, commander in chief of Idaho's National Guard, disagrees. He's not willing to risk the loss of over $200 million a year of funding from the National Guard, the state's fourth largest employer. DAN MCKNIGHT: And we're not crying for mercy here. We're not asking that the National Guard be released from this obligation. We're just simply asking that they do it the right way.
BRIG. GEN. DAVID MCGINNIS: The president has enough act of force if they're properly organized to react initially to any situation. And that would give him time to talk and -- talk to the congressional leaders and get an authorization from Congress. MIKE CERRE: Nearly 20 years since John Braswell was part of the first wave of National Guard troops deployed to Afghanistan, there's general agreement that these combat deployments, constitutional or otherwise, have made the National Guard better trained, equipped and more integrated with the active-duty military than previous weekend warriors. For the "PBS NewsHour," this is Mike Cerre in Boise, Idaho. JUDY WOODRUFF: It was the first Sunday in July of 1946. World War II had been over for
months, and the victorious United States was emerging as a global superpower. On that day, 140 miles south of Atlanta, in the small, quiet town of Plains, Georgia, a 21-year-old recent Naval Academy graduate named James Earl Carter Jr. and his 18-year-old fiancee, Eleanor Rosalynn Smith, exchanged wedding vows. They walked down the aisle of
a Methodist church and into a partnership that would take them to the height of American power and all over the world. Former first lady Rosalynn Carter is now 93, and former President Jimmy Carter is 96, making him the longest-living president in American history. This Wednesday, July 7, marks their 75th wedding anniversary, another record among U.S. presidents.
And it was for that occasion that I spoke with them last week in Plains, where they still live, about their life together and a few other things. President Carter, Mrs. Carter, it is so wonderful to see both of you. Thank you for talking with us.
Seventy-five years of marriage, that is remarkable. Congratulations. Mrs. Carter, what is the secret to this partnership? ROSALYNN CARTER, Former First Lady: Well, I think we give each other space and we try to do things together. We're always looking for things we can do together, like birding and fly-fishing and just anything we can find to do together. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, President Carter, I think people look at this long and happy marriage, and I think they'd love to know what -- especially couples who have been through what the two of you have been through, what's the secret, when you don't see eye to eye on something, for how you patch it back together? JIMMY CARTER, Former President of the United States: At the end of the day, we try to become reconciled and overcome all the differences that arose during the day.
We also make up and give each other a kiss before we go to sleep still in bed. And we always read the Bible every night, which adds a different aspect to life. So, we really try to become completely reconciled each night before we go to sleep. JUDY WOODRUFF: I'm asking about that, Mrs. Carter, because the story is, when you were
writing your book together, it was difficult for the two of you to work together. ROSALYNN CARTER: It was not easy. It's the worst thing -- I mean, it's probably the closest thing to bringing us to a divorce that we ever did. (LAUGHTER) ROSALYNN CARTER: It was awful.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But you got through it. ROSALYNN CARTER: We got through it. But we had help, and say, Mrs. Carter, you do -- you say this, and, President Carter, you say this. And -- but we got through it. JUDY WOODRUFF: And to those Americans who see the both of you and want to know, how are you doing, what would you say, Mrs. Carter? ROSALYNN CARTER: Doing good. We're doing good, both of us.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And President Carter? JIMMY CARTER: Well, we raise (ph) a lot. And I swim three times a day and I walk every day. ROSALYNN CARTER: Every day. JIMMY CARTER: And so we stay in good physical shape, as best we can, with our handicaps. And we have had to live a quite restricted life the last year or so with the problem with the virus. But we have succeeded very well. And I think, in general, that handicap
in movement has brought us even closer together. So that's one thing for which I'm thankful. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, President Carter, you have now live long enough to see this reevaluation of your presidency. There are two new major biographies out that argue that you didn't get the credit that you deserved for so much of what you did as president, whether it was climate change, energy, human rights, the Camp David accords, the Panama Canal treaties. How do you look on what's going on right now with your presidency? JIMMY CARTER: Well, I'm glad to know that people are now remembering that, during my administration, we tried to keep the peace.
And we cherished our human rights. So, peace and human rights were the bases for my campaign and also my administration. So, we came out of the White House completely satisfied with the way we had acted in the trials that we made to overcome difficulties. And most of
the time, we succeeded. At least we thought we did. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Mrs. Carter, when you look at this reevaluation, if that's what you want to call it, I mean, how do you see it? Is it about time? Is it -- how do you think about it? ROSALYNN CARTER: I think it's about time that people really realize what Jimmy did. And the books are helping. And I have been pleased with that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, President Carter, there's so much to ask you both about. But, as you think back on your presidency and your time as a former president, what are you most proud of? Is there a big regret you have? JIMMY CARTER: Well, we're very proud of having been elected and having served as president. That's the epitome of our lives, I think, in totality.
And I would say that we did what we pledged to do in the campaign. We kept the peace, and we obeyed the law, and we told the truth, and we honored human rights. Those were things that were important to me. JUDY WOODRUFF: And during your presidency, there was clearly a big partisan divide in this country.There were disagreements with Republicans, certainly with President Reagan in that campaign of 1980.
But, today, the partisanship is -- just seems to be off the charts. It's hyperpartisan. Do you think you could have done what you did as president if -- in this environment? JIMMY CARTER: No. If the Republicans had pledged while I was president not ever to pass any of my bills, I would have been handicapped greatly. And I'm glad they didn't do that. But we had a very good batting average with the Congress when I was in office. I think
we had the best one since Lyndon Johnson did. So, we had a good administration. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Mrs. Carter, as you think about the partisanship of today and the -- certainly, you had -- there were difficult moments during your presidency in getting done what you wanted to get done. But, today, you not only have partisanship. You have a president who claims that he won an election that he didn't. You have millions and millions of Americans, including here
in Georgia, who say that President Trump won reelection. How do you absorb that? ROSALYNN CARTER: It's hard. It's hard for me to know what was happening, and then to hear what was being said about it. And...
JIMMY CARTER: It's known, quite accurately, as the big lie. And how he -- how Trump gets away with it is hard to comprehend. And this is a time for extreme partnership -- partisanship. I think that adds to the environment within which a big lie would be possible to sustain. JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you believe that -- what would you say to Georgians, your fellow Georgians, so many of whom believe that President Trump won? And the laws have now been changed in the state of Georgia that might have made it difficult for President Biden or Senator Warnock or Senator Ossoff to win? JIMMY CARTER: Well, we have a few of those people in Plains, unfortunately. But I don't think they -- I'm going to change their mind. They're convinced of a lie. And
they're going to maintain it until they're gone, perhaps. So, we just have to live with that and accommodate other people what they believe, and not be overly critical of them. JUDY WOODRUFF: Did you ever think, Mrs. Carter, that your own Carter Center would be involved in monitoring elections in Georgia? You have monitored elections all over the world, over 100 of them, and you're now involved in monitoring elections in this country. ROSALYNN CARTER: In this state? No, I never thought we would have to monitor elections in Georgia. I just assumed elections were accurate. And I trusted our officials. Looking back on it,
it's not a very good thing I did, but I did. I trusted the officials. And I still do to some extent. I think we know the ones that don't tell the truth and try to -- well, I don't call it corrupt -- corruption, because I don't think that's a good definition for it. JUDY WOODRUFF: And they're monitoring -- President Carter, they're monitoring for fraud. They're also monitoring for access to make sure people who should be able to vote can vote. How -- I mean, how concerned are you with, again, the fact that your own Carter Center is now involved in this? JIMMY CARTER: I think, all over the world, we have always, ever since the Carter Center was founded, tried to promote maximum involvement in -- among the people in election itself and make sure that votes were counted accurately.
And all those things have gone by the board because of a Republican state legislature who take the position that Trump has espoused. So, I think we will just have to grin and bear it until the time comes when it changes, which I hope will be soon. JUDY WOODRUFF: President Biden, you have known him a very long time. He was the first United States senator to endorse you when you ran for president. JIMMY CARTER: I remember. JUDY WOODRUFF: How is he doing? We're almost six months in. What are his main challenges
now? How's he doing? JIMMY CARTER: Well, the immigration question still has arisen. And I don't think we have still worked out an accommodation with China that's satisfactory for the long term. And the legislative -- legislation that he wants to do is still under discussion. We don't know how it's going to turn out. But I think that, in general, Joe Biden has done very well. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Mrs. Carter, what do you think his main challenges are?
ROSALYNN CARTER: I think it's a great relief to have Joe Biden in office, after what we had before, so I'm very pleased about it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Two things I want to specifically ask both of you, and, Mrs. Carter, to you first.
Mental health has been a primary interest to you. You have poured a lot of energy into it. And we have seen, with the pandemic, it's underlined how difficult mental and emotional health is for many Americans. What is the one thing you would like to see the federal
government do to improve Americans' ability to get the help they need? ROSALYNN CARTER: I think that making a big issue out of it would help, because I worked very hard trying to remove the stigma of mental illness. And I think that one thing that has happened is that the situation has changed that a little bit, done away a little bit with the stigma. I have been pleased to see that. I think more people are seeking help than they did in the past.
And I just hope that people will know that they don't have to suffer from mental illnesses. The treatment -- there's treatment now. Everybody can live a good life in their communities working and living a normal life with a mental illness. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, President Carter, I want to ask you to look ahead. As you think about your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren and their future in this country, are you fearful for the United States, or are you more hopeful? JIMMY CARTER: Well, sometimes I'm fearful and sometimes I'm hopeful.
But, overwhelmingly, I'm hopeful. I have confidence in the basic integrity of the American people as -- in totality. And I believe that we have overcome even worse and more serious problems in the past than we have to face today. And so, in looking at the historical paths of America, I still have ultimate hope in the American people.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you see that, Mrs. Carter? ROSALYNN CARTER: I think that's a good answer. I think you have to have hope. Sometimes, it's hard, with the issues and the things that are on the news all the time, to try to figure out what's really -- what really to believe. But, in the end, I think everything will be OK.
JIMMY CARTER: We watch the "NewsHour," and your leadership and assessment every night. And that kind of helps to reassure us. And I think we don't watch FOX's presentations very much. We watch MSNBC and CNN very rarely. And all the aspects of social media, we don't really become involved in it. So, we have a very good balance of news coverage.
So I think, with Biden in office and with the inherent qualities of the American people's judgment, I would say I'm fairly optimistic about the future. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we are very grateful to both of you for talking with us today, and on the occasion of your 75th wedding anniversary. Congratulations on that. It's really wonderful to see both of you. Thank you very much. JIMMY CARTER: We appreciate you. Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: From the battle over voting rights to the fight against COVID-19, it's a good time for our Politics Monday team. That's Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR.
And it is very good to see both of you. Amy is away, but we can still see you just like you're here with us in the studio. (LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: I have to say, first of all, what a privilege it was, Tam and Amy, to be able to go to Plains, Georgia, to sit down with former President Carter and Mrs. Carter, 75th wedding anniversary. They're still following the news, as you heard them say, Amy. It is really something.
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: I loved the plug for the "NewsHour," of course, Judy, and for your leadership of it, which was wonderful. (LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER: But, obviously, their engagement not with just American politics, but American life, has been quite remarkable over these last many years, whether it was Habitat for Humanity, and, of course, the work that President Carter has done internationally. I do think you're correct, that he is sort of remaking his assessment of his presidency. And it's one of the good and bad things about being a president who lived so long, is you get to see your legacy written and rewritten over and over and over again. JUDY WOODRUFF: It is hard to believe, Tam, it has been 41 years since this president left office, and we're still asking him these news -- these questions.
TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: He has had quite the post-presidency. They both have. It has been truly remarkable. JUDY WOODRUFF: It really has. And, Amy, I want to -- I do want to come back to something that I talked to them about, because it is so much in the news right now. And, of course, that is voting rights. We
had the Supreme Court decision last week upholding Arizona's laws around more restrictive voting. And then -- and you heard President -- former President Carter say that, we will just have to grin and bear it, this situation, as it is around the country. But we are -- given what has gone on in the Congress and in the state legislatures, this is a situation that we're looking at for years to come.
AMY WALTER: It is. That's why I thought it was so interesting he said -- that President Carter said, we have to grin and bear it until the time comes to change it. And, to me, Judy, that's the real big issue here, because Democrats and Republicans feel very differently about what needs to change. We saw this in that most recent "NewsHour"/PBS/Marist poll. When asked, what do you think is the bigger problem in America, that not everybody can vote or that people are voting who are ineligible, overwhelming percentage of Democrats say it's that people don't have access to voting. Very few Republicans feel that way. Overwhelming percentage of Republicans feel the big issue
is people who are ineligible shouldn't be able to vote. Very few Democrats feel that way. And independents are kind of split, a little more leaning toward that the bigger problem is access to voting.
But that leaves us in a very precarious position. And it is a reason why also in that same poll almost 70 percent of Americans say they're worried about the future of democracy in this country. That's a very depressing place to be. JUDY WOODRUFF: It does feel as if the country is stuck on this issue right now, doesn't it, Tam? TAMARA KEITH: Certainly.
And there was a second Supreme Court decision that essentially said, Congress, you need to fix this, if you want to. And, for years now, Congress -- and Congress obviously isn't a monolith -- Congress has been unable to fix it, in part because of what Amy said, because there's simply no agreement about what needs fixing. Republicans and Democrats have very different views on voting. And I think that there are
some items that they probably would agree on, or adjustments that they could agree on, but then there are all of the other parts that they just simply can't come together on. And so the Biden administration, the president, and the vice president are talking not about really getting legislation done, though they're trying, but they're talking about using their bully pulpit to go out essentially on the campaign trail heading into the 2022 midterms to campaign for voting rights and make that a campaign issue, while, at the same time, trying to mobilize Democratic voters and teach people how to vote under the state laws that they have no power to fix or change. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we will see how much they can mobilize people to vote over this issue one way or the other. TAMARA KEITH: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy, the other thing I want to talk to the two of you about, Fourth of July. Here we are the day after. We saw President Biden at the White House yesterday speaking
to the American people to mark the day, but also noting -- he spoke about an independence from COVID, from the pandemic. But it is tough right now, because, yes, the numbers have been coming down in this country, but we're kind of stuck there, too. AMY WALTER: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: They have stopped, though. We're seeing cases rise, as we reported earlier, because of this Delta variant.
You have got an administration that promised that they'd have 70 percent of adults at least one vaccination by now. That hasn't happened. It is a tough one for the administration. AMY WALTER: It is very tough, too, in this place which we have just been discussing, red and blue America, where blue America is seeing numbers in the 70s and 80 percent of vaccinations, red states in the much lower percentage, in some cases, 40 percent, 50 percent. That's not something that President Biden himself is going to fix. It is going to take Republican leaders in those states to do that.
But the other piece, Judy, that really struck me is the fact that voters are giving, both Democrats and Republicans, and also independents, giving the president credit for his handling of COVID. He has something like a 64 percent, 65 percent approval rating on this issue. And yet his overall approval rating in this "PBS NewsHour"/Marist poll and the most recent Washington Post poll still stuck at 50 percent. And what that says to me is that even an issue that -- so dramatic, changed all of our lives in such an unbelievable way, so much tragedy brought upon us, it -- and we are now hopefully looking at the end of this -- we really are in a very different place this Fourth of July than we were last year. And still voters are as divided as ever on the issue about COVID and whether they should give President Biden not just credit on COVID, but for being a president who is doing the right thing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, meanwhile, Tam, a larger pressure of Republicans saying they won't get the vaccine. TAMARA KEITH: Absolutely. If you overlay the map of the election with the map of percent of the population, percent of adults that are fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated, it looks just like that election map, with Biden states going for the vaccine, and Trump states less so.
But there are other things that you have to overlay, things like rural areas, access to health care, sort of the preexisting conditions of health access and availability in some of these states, poverty, education levels. All of that is part of the mix. I was talking to the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who was trying to get people to get vaccinated, specifically trying to figure out the right message to get Republicans vaccinated. He said that the Biden White House basically did everything that they could. They did the
right things. What we know is that the administration does plan to keep pushing on this, keep trying to get people vaccinated. But they did celebrate this past weekend. And part of that is a lesson of the Obama administration. They're trying to sort of bank their political wins on this, trying to celebrate where celebrating can happen.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It's a tricky line to walk, Amy, as Tam is saying, celebrating the good, but knowing that we are still far away from a place that it's safe when it comes to this virus. AMY WALTER: That's right. And I think, once we get past the summer months, we know where the danger place is, Judy. And that's kids going back to school. That's going back indoors, that and potentially a new variant or one that has been mutated. But I do think it is time to celebrate. We have had a Fourth of July where we're able
to do the things that last year seemed like they might not happen again for a very long time. So, I do think this is a time to be, yes, cautious, but also optimistic. JUDY WOODRUFF: As we heard from President Carter just a few moments ago. (LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: Given a choice, we will take a few minutes to celebrate. Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, on the 5th of July, so good to see you both. Thank you. TAMARA KEITH: Good to see you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The July Fourth weekend is a moment to celebrate the founding ideals of our republic and how our idea of democracy inspires immigrants to journey toward a new life. Amna Nawaz talks to a British-turned-American author with a unique perspective on what it means to call the U.S. home. AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, Roger Bennett is the co-host "Men in Blazers" TV show. But before he became
a soccer commentator and American citizen, he was an '80's kid from Liverpool, England, obsessed with America. From "Miami Vice," to the Super Bowl Shuffle, to the Beastie Boys, America represented all the opportunities he felt were out of his reach across the pond. His new book is "(Re)born in the USA: An Englishman's Love Letter to His Chosen Home." Rog, welcome back to the "NewsHour." Always good to have you here. ROGER BENNETT, Author, "(Re)born in the USA: An Englishman's Love Letter to His Chosen Home": Amna, what a way to end this Fourth of July weekend, being with you. AMNA NAWAZ: So, this obsession with all things America, where does it come from? ROGER BENNETT: I grew up in Liverpool in the 1980s. It is a magnificent city, but, back
then, it was in economic decline, the North of England. The coal mines had shut, the steel mills shut down. If you have watched "Billy Elliot," you kind of get the drift. And I didn't have belly dancing in my life, but what I did have was America, American soft power. And, as a teen, I inhaled every book, movie, television show, sports star, vinyl L.P. I could get my hands on.
That's how I survived the darkness of Liverpool in the 1980s. But, really, I was an American trapped in an Englishman's body. AMNA NAWAZ: You had some ancestors early in your family who had also dreamt about coming to the U.S. and never made it. Did that influence your love for America too? ROGER BENNETT: That is actually the gentleman over my shoulder, my great-grandfather, Harris (ph).
The myth of the Liverpool Jewish community is that they left Ukraine with thousands. He was a butcher headed to Chicago, the hog capital of the world. And when the boat docked to refuel in Liverpool, he saw the one tall building on the Liverpool skyline, thought he was in New York City, and got off the boat thinking, he was in the promised land.
And so my own grandfather, who I was very close to, whenever things went wrong, he would pick up a tiny little tchotchke, a Statue of Liberty, from his fireplace, and look at it and stare at it and say: "Oh, we should have lived there. We should have lived there." So, I always felt, even though I'd never set foot in America, that was where I was meant to be. AMNA NAWAZ: So, you spent so much of your childhood consuming every bit of Americana that you could in the '80s. Of course, we mentioned "Miami Vice." You grew to love American music, just soaked up everything you could. John Hughes movies, you mentioned as well, speaking to you on a very deep level. Why?
What was it about those movies and music that spoke to you? ROGER BENNETT: It seems so crazy on the surface, "Hart to Hart," "The Love Boat," "Miami Vice," "Moonlighting." But I was enjoying them and imbibing them in the same way, just like, say, "Animal Farm" is just a book about horses and pigs. Below the surface, the American color that you received, a life of possibility, a life of joy, a life where you can take your own future to into your hands, it was a complete contrast to the black and white in which I grew up with. And that's something that Americans often don't remember about their own nation. When
you become America, and when you say the oath of allegiance we have 162 people from 42 countries, many of whom have escaped civil war or famine or worse to arrive here, all of us were animated by the American idea, that American dream. And that notion of America from afar gives the world such courage, such joy, such tenacity. It saved my life when I needed it, and thousands more. AMNA NAWAZ: And you tell that story so beautifully in the book about becoming a citizen in 2018. But you also tweeted a photo, I recall, after you became a citizen. A lot of people who
sent you congratulations notes. You noted in the book too that some noted: We're so glad you're an American citizen. Thank you for taking the legal pathway, as it were. As you note in the book, though, you came here in 1993, and you overstayed a tourist visa, and then went on to become a citizen. And I wonder how you process that, the sort of reaction you got in becoming a citizen and pursuing American citizenship, as opposed to the ones others people get. ROGER BENNETT: I grew up as a kid with the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline painted on my bedroom wall dreaming of living here, and ended up making that absolutely true. And it was the greatest moment of my life to become an American, to swear the oath of allegiance to this country.
My whole life has been based around the notion of the American dream. The one I had as a child, who had not set foot in the country, it was rich, it was deep, it was built on a perception. It's very different to the American reality. And, Amna, I still love the American idea more than ever. Now I am here. Now I vote. Now I have four American kids. But the epigraph of my book is how I square the circle. It's
the words of Langston Hughes, the great poet, who wrote, oh, let America be America again, the land that never has been yet and yet must be. AMNA NAWAZ: Rog, I have to ask you. You spent much of your childhood mass-consuming every bit of America you could. Now millions of Americans know you as their gateway to one of England's chief exports, professional soccer. Is there a little bit of irony there? Is that a full circle moment? What's going on? ROGER BENNETT: I love two things in my life. I love football. I'm from Liverpool. It's
like high school basketball in Indiana or high school football in Texas. It's how we understand the world. And I also love America. I have to say it's the joy of my life to have seen the sport I love when I came here. And
on our show, we joke soccer, America's sport of the future, as it has been since 1972. But the game now, our women are world champions. And I will just say, our men, they're almost half as good as our women now, which may be good enough to make a lot of noise at the next World Cup. So that future, thank God, is now. AMNA NAWAZ: That is Roger Bennett, host of the "Men in Blazers" show and author of the new book "(Re)born in the USA: An Englishman's Love Letter to His Chosen Home." Rog, always good to talk to you.
ROGER BENNETT: Happy Independence Day to everyone, Judy Woodruff in particular. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we appreciate that, Roger Bennett. Thank you. Love hearing from you. In a time of much reckoning over American history, there are questions raised anew about what a monument is and whom should be honored. A new exhibition in Los Angeles explores that, in what's called augmented reality. Jeffrey Brown has a look for our arts and culture series, Canvas.
JEFFREY BROWN: Life in Los Angeles' MacArthur Park, but not as you have ever seen in. This is a digital tribute to the workers who have lined the streets of this immigrant neighborhood for decades, an otherworldly portal between past, present and future worlds, exploring the continuing presence of an indigenous people native to L.A. In a new exhibit, Monumental Perspectives at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA, five artists were tasked with reimagining monuments through new technology, augmented reality, an interactive experience that overlays digital information with the real, physical world. RUBEN OCHOA, Artist: I had to learn all these terms, because I wasn't familiar with all these terms. I had to learn how to navigate Snapchat. JEFFREY BROWN: One of the five is Los Angeles-based artist Ruben Ochoa, whose piece, Vendedores Presente, pays homage to street vendors, many of whom are working-class immigrants from Mexico and Central America. RUBEN OCHOA: It's essentially like a magical realism, whimsical lens of vendedores falling -- floating down, eloteros flying around, to a paletero cart approaching you, and paletas popping up, to a towering bucket of flores spouting out flower petals.
JEFFREY BROWN: The technology was new for Ochoa, but he comes from a family of street vendors, so his monument was personal and political. RUBEN OCHOA: For me it was like, how do I address what's happening presently in L.A., what I'm seeing around me, what's occurring? I talk about my roots of my family, the informal economy, and street vending. How do we pay tribute to that, but not just to one particular vendor or object? But it was more like the social fabric of vending. JEFFREY BROWN: In the height of 2020's social justice uprisings, many monuments were pulled down, many more raised questions. Why do they exist? Whom or what do they honor? Do they
need to be here? Michael Govan, LACMA's director, wondered about a different approach. MICHAEL GOVAN, Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art: How do we move forward and to talk about celebrating figures that hadn't been celebrated? What should we monumentalize in the 21st century or who? JEFFREY BROWN: LACMA partnered with Snap, the social media company best known for its Snapchat messaging app, to create this exhibition. But why augmented reality, instead of something more physical or permanent? MICHAEL GOVAN: Monuments do augment our reality. They change the way we think of a place that might remind us of something. A monument might be there to allow us to remember something.
So, whether it's in a virtual space or a real space, I think it can serve exactly the same function. MERCEDES DORAME, Artist: When I think about monuments, I think about how they're often a singular moment or a singular person. And it's kind of often, for indigenous people, these histories that are really kind of traumatic for us. JEFFREY BROWN: Mercedes Dorame is an L.A.-based artist who created Portal for Tovaangar, a
monument that pays tribute to her ancestry, the Gabrielino-Tongva Indians of California. MERCEDES DORAME: It's about this continuum of presence in Los Angeles of the Tongva people and other indigenous people there. What do we want to understand or reconnect with? And, for me, that is -- like, that is the cosmos, the sun, the stars. Like, what is
inscribed in the land? The history of the land, the plants, the people, the kind of legacy that is still here, still in Los Angeles. JEFFREY BROWN: She worked with an Australian artist who goes by the one name, Sutu, an expert in virtual reality and other technologies. SUTU, Artist and Lens Creator: She does paintings. She works with, like, artifacts and stones and shells and different things like this. And I wanted to make sure that we could bring all that into the digital world.
She created a painting and took it on site and photographed it on site, which was super helpful. I was then able to take those photos and extract the -- just the painting from them and bring that into the program. JEFFREY BROWN: He used a combination of 3-D modeling, animation, and other tools to create the augmented reality of the portal. SUTU: There's no law of physics there. You can have anti-gravity, you can have things
floating. One of the things that augmented reality lends to the world, I guess, is that it's -- you're bringing to life a physical place with the digital art. So, the digital art can provide context to that physical place. JEFFREY BROWN: That led to a question for museum director Govan. This whole project sort of raises a question of permanence, right? Does it have a life beyond, beyond what we see in Snap? MICHAEL GOVAN: Absolutely.
You think about monuments, they don't have to be a statue. Monuments can be written in books. They can be put on media. What are monuments? Monuments are ways to remember things that are useful to us to help us think about our past and hopefully think about our future, too, because there's a heroic aspect to what you want to remember to guide you forward.
So, it is also about the future. JEFFREY BROWN: For Ruben Ochoa, his monument' has led to an advocacy project: He's raised $60,000 through direct donations and the sale of limited edition prints to support vendors hit by the pandemic. RUBEN OCHOA: Because a lot of them are immigrants, they're not eligible for a stimulus check. And so this is their only means of survival, only means to put food on the table. JEFFREY BROWN: And Mercedes Dorame sees another benefit to this kind of project. MERCEDES DORAME: The reason why I make artwork, the reason why I wanted to engage in a project like this with an institution such as LACMA and Snap is to push this story forward, to make our people more visible.
And, for me, that goes into a lot of these pushes into institutions where we're thinking about representation and whose voice is heard. JEFFREY BROWN: New technology, new monuments, new ways of mixing art and history. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown. JUDY WOODRUFF: Land of fantasy.
And we have a news update before we go. An additional victim has been found in the rubble from the collapsed condominium building in Surfside, Florida, bringing the confirmed death toll to 28; 117 people are still missing. On the "NewsHour" online right now: A first-of-its-kind study offers new demographic data about people who have gender identities that are neither male nor female. They are not currently counted
by the U.S. census. Learn more about why this data is important on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour. And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.