March 6, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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March 6, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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03/06/2023 | 56m 42s | Video has closed captioning.
March 6, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening.
I'm Geoff Bennett.
AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: As the world enters the fourth year of living with COVID, we speak to the director of the Centers for Disease Control about what we have learned and where we go from here.
GEOFF BENNETT: How the shifting nature of work during the pandemic led to an unexpected rise in birth rates, with far-reaching implications for the U.S. economy.
MARTHA BAILEY, UCLA Economist: A lot of people were working from home, especially the more educated women.
And we thought that this workplace flexibility may have played a role in their ability to both have children and maintain their busy work lives.
AMNA NAWAZ: And Iran's future on the world stage becomes increasingly uncertain amid continuing protests, suspected poisoning of school-age girls, and advancements in nuclear enrichment.
(BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour."
For thousands of people in California, the punishing cleanup from back-to-back blizzards goes on tonight amid mountains of snow.
GEOFF BENNETT: Winter in the California mountains has turned out to be more like a natural disaster, especially east of Los Angeles.
William Brangham has our report.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As snow continues to blanket various parts of California, residents are still trying to find ways to get out from under it.
Patricia Derleth lives in a mobile home complex in the San Bernardino Mountains, where at least 10 feet of snow has fallen.
PATRICIA DERLETH, California Resident: This place is a disaster zone.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Many people are just emerging for the first time in days, inching their way through dug-out paths.
Some have to trek long distances just to get necessities like food and medicine.
JOHN BILYK, California Resident: Just hiking back now with the food.
I'm actually trying to get to the hilltop.
That's the only place WE can get phone service to make a phone call.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Crews are working around the clock to rescue those who are still trapped.
They're using special equipment to dig routes to safety and deploying as much help as they can.
BRIAN ESTES, Placer County, California, Police Chief: And that preparedness part of it is key for us.
It also deals with a lot of specialized equipment and resources based on what we think were going to see on the forecast.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Officials reopened Interstate 80 this morning, after shutting it down in several mountain towns over the weekend.
But California isn't done with this extreme weather yet.
More snow and later rain is predicted for this week.
The heavy combination could collapse more roofs and cause other structural damage structural damage.
Meanwhile, winter weather is again hitting the Midwest.
Minnesota woke up today to snow-covered roads and high winds, as did much of the Great Lakes region.
The Northeast is girding for its arrival next.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham.
AMNA NAWAZ: All told, 13 counties in California are under states of emergency because of the massive snowfall.
It's been one month since a deadly earthquake rocked the Turkey-Syria border region, and the U.N. is warning that it doesn't have the funds to help.
The world body says an appeal for $1 billion to help survivors is only 10 percent funded.
Silence has fallen over destroyed cities like Hatay in Southern Turkey.
The U.N. says hundreds of thousands of people still need humanitarian aid.
In Eastern Ukraine, commanders in the blasted city of Bakhmut are vowing again to hold out.
A nonstop Russian assault continued today, and one Ukrainian officer described the situation as utter hell.
Drone footage from inside Bakhmut showed miles of scarred ruins.
A military spokesman told Ukrainian TV that defenders are under constant pressure.
MYKYTA SHANDBYA, Press Officer, Ukrainian Military (through translator): It's tough.
The enemy's assaults happen all the time.
They try to capture out positions.
Small groups attempt to carry out assaults.
In the past couple of days, the number of people in those groups have increased.
But, so far, they have failed.
AMNA NAWAZ: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said today that, even if the Russians finally capture Bakhmut, it would be a symbolic victory only.
Back in this country, more than 20 people face domestic terrorism charges in Atlanta after a violent protest on Sunday.
It happened at a construction site for a new police training center.
Surveillance video showed demonstrators throwing flaming bottles, fireworks and rocks.
Construction equipment was also set on fire.
The project has been a flash point for months.
Police shot and killed one protester in January.
California will stop doing business with Walgreens after the pharmacy chain halted sales of the abortion pill mifepristone in Republican-run states.
Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted today he is -- quote -- "done" with any company that -- quote -- "cowers to the extremists and puts women's lives at risk."
Newsom ordered state-funded insurance plans to review all dealings with Walgreens.
The U.S. Transportation Department says three top airlines have agreed to eliminate family seating fees in some cases.
American, Alaska and Frontier Airlines say they will let parents with young children sit together at no extra cost if seats are available at booking.
Those carriers will get a green check mark on a new dashboard that went online today.
And Wall Street mostly marked time today.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 40 points to close at 33431.
The Nasdaq fell 13 points.
The S&P 500 was up two.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": Iran vows to punish anyone found responsible for the poisoning of school-age girls; speeches by leading Republicans highlight the choice voters face on the direction of their party; remembering an activist's lasting contributions to disability rights; plus much more.
GEOFF BENNETT: It was three years ago this month when the U.S. began shutting down due to the explosive spread of COVID-19.
The country is now into its fourth year with the virus, and it's fair to say that, to many people, the pandemic is over.
But COVID isn't done with us.
The CDC reports there were nearly 2,300 deaths tied to COVID over the last week, and more than 3,000 people hospitalized each day with it on average.
Throughout the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been criticized for its response, and the agency is now undergoing a major reorganization after an internal review identified shortcomings.
We're joined now by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Welcome back to the "NewsHour."
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC Director: Thanks so much for having me, Geoff.
GEOFF BENNETT: And you have said that the CDC failed to respond quickly enough to the pandemic and that the agency was responsible for some pretty dramatic public mistakes, from testing, to data sharing, to communication.
What are you doing now to address it?
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY: You know, I feel like our responsibility now is to be the public health agency of the future and to be sure that we are prepared for every next public health urgency and emergency that we face.
We have done a huge amount of work within the agency.
You mentioned reorganization, but much more work than that, including increasing the rapidity at which we get science out, how that science gets out, how we communicate it, and how quickly we are able to communicate it, and then really being a response-based agency, where we have always been known as an academic, science-based agency, but we also need to be a response-based agency where we're ready to respond.
So much of the work that we're doing within the agency is critically important.
But we also really need help from Congress to be all that we can be in public health.
GEOFF BENNETT: A question about the CDC being a response-based agency.
We talked with a number of public health experts in advance of speaking with you, and nearly all of them pointed to what they saw as the biggest challenge, perhaps the toughest challenge, which is changing the culture at the CDC, that, as you mentioned, the CDC is an academic institution with, but that it has to be a nimble, action-focused public health agency.
How are you going to accomplish that?
Because a reorganization, in and of itself, may not be enough.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY: And, in fact, you're -- I have said exactly that to the agency, that the reorganization was necessary, but not sufficient, for the work that we need to do.
We have been known as an exceptional science-based agency, and we need to be a response-based agency.
We have a responsibility such that, when there is a public health urgency and emergency, that we have a public health work force within CDC and truly around the country that is responder-driven and responder-based.
We're doing a lot of training within the agency.
We're doing -- we have -- in part of our reorganization, we have escalated the readiness and response-based office directly into the immediate office of the director.
And there's a real motivation within the agency to -- toward that change.
That said, we're doing all of these efforts within the agency, but this is, again, another one of those areas where it would be super helpful to have congressional support.
We don't enjoy many of the authorities that response-based agencies like FEMA do enjoy, for example, overtime pay or danger pay or direct hiring authorities.
Those are some of the authorities, from a human resource perspective, that would be incredibly helpful for us to be the full response-based agency that we need to be.
GEOFF BENNETT: What about data sharing?
Does the CDC have the authority it needs to compel states to share data?
And I ask the question because the U.S. was relying on data from Israel to make recommendations for booster shots for Americans.
And that raised a lot of questions and concerns.
And there has been this criticism that the CDC hasn't shared information as quickly as it needs to.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY: Yes, I'm really glad you asked that question.
So we do need to share our data faster when we get it.
And we have been actively doing that.
And I think you can see some of the responses from our mpox response about how we were getting our data out faster.
We have decreased our scientific clearance time by 50 percent, and more work happening there.
But you raise a really critical point.
And that is, when people ask CDC for data, the most important question is, does CDC have the data that is being asked of us?
As you note, we rely on data coming in from 3,000 counties and jurisdictions, 64 states and territories and 574 tribes, and they all report those data voluntarily.
Often, those data are not standardized.
And, in fact, with the end of the public health emergency for COVID specifically, we will lose the receipt of much of the data that we -- people are traditionally used to seeing from the CDC.
And that's another place where we are asking for congressional support to help with those data authorities, so we can standardize the data, receive the data, and then, importantly, feed it back to the American people and feed it back to those jurisdictions, so they know what's happening around them.
GEOFF BENNETT: Is there a way to insulate the CDC from partisan influence, from the political whims of the day?
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY: You know, so much of what we need to do is foundational in the science that we deliver.
And yet we need to understand the dialogue of the policies around us and recognize that health is not in a vacuum.
As we are delivering in our school-based guidance, we really do need to understand the intersection of the Department of Education.
As we are looking at our health care guidance, we really need to understand how we intersect at our Department of Labor.
So, much of what we need to do is foundational in the science that we deliver.
And then it is critically important that we intersect with some of these other places across the government, so that -- those policies that are scientifically based can actually be implemented on the ground.
GEOFF BENNETT: COVID has been a part of our lives for nearly four years now.
Is the U.S. better prepared, better positioned to respond to the next pandemic?
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY: So, we are doing that work right now.
And so much of that work is in bolstering our public health work force in the CDC and across the country, bolstering our laboratory and data systems -- laboratory systems and our laboratories across the country, bolstering our data systems across the country.
What I will say is, we started on a very frail, underinvested public health infrastructure.
And I know people are tired of talking about the pandemic, but we started with a frail public health infrastructure.
We have made great strides, but we are not where we need to be to be fully prepared for the next pandemic.
And that is the work, the hard work, that we have ahead and the real reason that we need ongoing investments in public health.
GEOFF BENNETT: And, lastly, Dr. Walensky, the Biden administration, as you mentioned, plans to end both the national emergency and the public health emergency declarations tied to COVID-19 in May.
There are more than 3,000 people hospitalized each day with this virus.
There are vulnerable communities, people with preexisting conditions, older Americans who feel as if they are now left to fend for themselves and that everybody else has moved on.
What would you say, in your capacity as the director of the CDC, to those folks?
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY: I would say that whether or not there's a declared public health emergency, our mission is unchanged with regard to COVID-19 and to protecting the health, safety and security of all Americans.
We will continue to work on COVID-19 and all other public health threats with the ongoing investment and vigor as we have had during the public health emergency.
GEOFF BENNETT: Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, thanks for your time.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY: Thanks so much for having me.
AMNA NAWAZ: Well, the COVID pandemic had impacts both big and small.
One unexpected effect?
A bit of a baby boom.
It's the first major reversal in declining us fertility rates since 2007.
Special correspondent and "Washington Post" columnist Catherine Rampell reports on the surprise pandemic baby bump.
(SINGING) CATHERINE RAMPELL: If Noellia Hernandez sounds unusually professional when singing to her 18-month-old daughter, Emerson, that's because she is.
Just a few short years ago, she was performing in front of a bigger audience with Broadway aspirations.
NOELLIA HERNANDEZ, Mother: So I was like, OK, this is my year.
I just got new headshots, I just had like a great meeting with my agent, and I'm going to go for it.
I'm going to get this dream job.
And then the pandemic hit.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: And her career was put on pause.
NOELLIA HERNANDEZ: I spoke to my agent.
She said: "I'm going to be real.
Theaters are probably closed for at least a year.
If I were you, I would think about what else you want to be doing during this time."
And so we looked at each other.
And I said: "Well, we have another nine months.
So should we have a baby right now?
Is this the time?
It's never been right because I didn't want to have to stop auditioning."
I love you.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: We put Noellia center stage, but this trend extends well off Broadway too.
NOELLIA HERNANDEZ: Can you say grapes?
CATHERINE RAMPELL: She's part of the pandemic baby boom.
Even in my own social circle, seemingly, everyone had a baby these past two years.
This was unexpected.
For many years, birth rates had been trending downwards, but especially when the economy was weak.
MARTHA BAILEY, UCLA Economist: In all of the recessions in recent history, birth rates have gone down pretty dramatically as the economy has contracted.
People delay the children until times are better.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: UCLA economist Martha Bailey.
MARTHA BAILEY: What's so interesting about the pandemic recession is that, instead of birth rates falling, they actually went on to rise.
It's not a big increase, I should say.
A lot of people say, oh, this is just a blip.
But what's surprising is that, instead of seeing missing births, a massive decline, we have actually seen a slight increase, which surprised all of us.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: Possible reasons for the baby bump?
Stimulus checks and other government supports made this recession less financially painful.
And people's priorities changed.
AMY AZIMI, Mother: I got pregnant when I was on the IUD.
But I think, under normal circumstances, that would have -- we would have taken it a little bit differently.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: Amy Azimi and Shelton Metcalf (ph) were using birth control.
They had not been dating long, but it was an intense period, since they were stuck at home.
AMY AZIMI: Kind of our values to start to change, even though we were dating.
Before, if we were going to go out to the bar and drink, now we were spending nights at home cooking.
SHELTON METCALF, Father: Without COVID, we probably would have done a lot more... AMY AZIMI: Taking the long route.
SHELTON METCALF: Yes.
AMY AZIMI: Yes.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: Suddenly, they were on the fast track.
AMY AZIMI: I asked Shelton: "What if I'm pregnant?
Do you want to keep the baby?
: And he says: "I don't know, maybe not."
It was a Friday, tested, and it was positive.
And I was like, uh-oh.
SHELTON METCALF: You also had to immediately go to your doctor.
AMY AZIMI: Yes, I had to go, because I had an IUD and knew that was going to be a little tricky.
I was just exhausted from the day.
And so I took a nap on the couch.
And I woke up to him quietly crying on the couch with a smile on his face.
And he says -- he looks at me and says: "I'm going to be a dad."
(LAUGHTER) AMY AZIMI: So that was sweet.
And along came baby Monduna (ph).
One factor that made the idea of becoming parents less daunting, their work lives had changed.
SHELTON METCALF: Before COVID, I was traveling quite a lot.
That went to zero.
AMY AZIMI: I was teaching.
You're getting up to get there before the kids, staying after the kids.
It doesn't leave a whole lot of room to do much else.
SHELTON METCALF: You would just come home and go to sleep, right?
AMY AZIMI: Yes.
SHELTON METCALF: When you were teaching in the classroom.
AMY AZIMI: Yes.
SHELTON METCALF: And then, then all of a sudden, the next day, you could to get up and wear sweatpants.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: When schools returned to in-person instruction, Amy ultimately decided to become a consultant, so she could continue working remotely.
AMY AZIMI: To still have that aspect of me that likes to work and wants to have a career, but also be able to balance my family.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: The broader shift to remote work may help partly explain the national baby bump, says Bailey.
MARTHA BAILEY: A lot of people were working from home, especially the more educated women, and we thought that this workplace flexibility may have played a role in their ability to both have children and maintain their busy work lives.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: Women with college degrees are more likely to be in white-collar careers that can go remote.
MARTHA BAILEY: There's a big educational divide.
So women with more education were the ones that were having a lot more children, so exceeding trends and actually increasing their birth rates.
Women with less than a college education, we not only saw their birth rates go down, but they have barely recovered to trend by the end of 2021.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: The uptick was more pronounced for first-time parents too.
Those who already had kids had a lot to deal with.
MARTHA BAILEY: The closure of childcare, the closure of schools, remote schooling for their kids, those things were tricky.
That was not the right time to expand your family.
On the other hand, a lot of people without children didn't have those same constraints.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: So, people who were already trapped at home with a toddler or a kindergartner, they said... MARTHA BAILEY: Or two.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: ... no mas.
MARTHA BAILEY: It doesn't look like they said, oh, sure.
Let's have another.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: Newfound work flexibility is a key reason why Callie (ph) became a mom.
CALLIE, Mother: We had been before the pandemic long distance and trying to figure out how to get into the same city.
And we were both able to work from home.
And that actually allowed us to be in the same place.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: Before Isaac was born, Callie had been living in Seattle for work and then moved back East.
Within the span of a year, she and her partner got married, bought a house and started their family.
CALLIE: I think the pandemic accelerated everything by like five years for us, probably.
We were both really focused on our careers.
We were like in a very different life stage before.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: She eventually transferred to an office closer to her now husband and has continued working remotely, for now.
CALLIE: They are actually requiring us to return four days a week.
So I will be going back into an office.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: And Callie isn't alone.
MELISSA KEARNEY, University of Maryland: We're in a transition period.
And we don't know what companies or firms are going to be saying even a year from now.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: The University of Maryland's Melissa Kearney says birth rates are key to understanding what happens to the labor market and the broader economy.
MELISSA KEARNEY: If every woman is having a little bit more than two kids, on average, then our native population stays constant.
We are now down to total fertility rates, the expected number of kids a woman will have over her lifetime is closer to 1.6.
So that's substantially below replacement level fertility.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: Why does that matter?
MELISSA KEARNEY: It matters because, absent a large increase in immigration, this means that in the not-too-distant future, our working-age population is going to shrink.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: Among other things, fewer people working means fewer people paying taxes to support retirement programs.
MELISSA KEARNEY: If our fertility remains at a level of 1.66, as opposed to 2.1, then that means that Social Security benefits are going to have to be cut by more, or payroll taxes are going to have to increase by more than current projections would say.
CATHERINE RAMPELL: To us, these may look just like cute toddlers, but, to economists, they're critical future workers.
And that's a reason to celebrate.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Catherine Rampell.
GEOFF BENNETT: Today, Iran's supreme leader called still unexplained cases of sickness among Iranian schoolgirls an unforgivable crime.
Iranian authorities say, in the last three months, more than 1,000 girls have fallen ill in more than 100 schools.
The incidents occurred as the regime cracked down on national protests and as Iran further accelerated its nuclear program.
Nick Schifrin begins with the cases of mysterious illness across that country.
NICK SCHIFRIN: They go to study, and end up sick, Iranian schoolgirls, gasping for air, some, their symptoms so serious, taken away by ambulance.
"We don't want to die," they shout.
In dozens of schools across the country, there has been chaos and fear.
And hospitals near the schools are packed with young girls struggling with breathlessness and nausea.
In most cases, students complained of a foul smell, then fell ill. STUDENT (through translator): It was P.E.
When we went to the hall, we smelled something like perfume.
STUDENT (through translator): I have severe numbness.
I can't walk at all.
WOMAN (through translator): The students all felt the same symptoms as me.
They had coughs.
Some of them said their eyes burned.
NICK SCHIFRIN: The first suspected incident was reported in November in the holy city of Qom south of Tehran.
Now Iranian officials admit suspected cases have spread to more than 20 of Iran's 31 provinces.
Angry parents are taking to the streets in videos blurred to protect them from government retribution, this protest outside the Department of Education in Tehran.
"The next to be poisoned will be yours," they chant.
It's still unknown who or what is responsible.
The Iranian regime launched an investigation, but has made no arrests or conclusions.
Today, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei broke his silence, saying those responsible would receive the death penalty.
AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, Supreme Leader of Iran (through translator): If there truly is vandalism and there are individuals or groups behind this matter, this is a great and unforgivable crime.
The culprits must face the toughest of punishments, because this is not a small crime.
This is a crime against the most innocent part of society, meaning children.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But the regime has targeted innocent children and thousands of demonstrators.
Last year, Iranians launched their most widespread protests in more than a decade.
They were led by women, many of them teenagers.
The regime responded with force.
Human rights organizations accuse authorities of using excessive force and killing hundreds of largely peaceful protesters, including dozens of children.
Authorities have also imprisoned hundreds more on what human rights groups call dubious charges and issued dozens of death sentences.
That has largely ended these demonstrations, but activists are calling for more protests tomorrow.
For more on human rights in Iran and recent steps that Iran has taken to advance its nuclear program, we turn to Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank in Washington.
Thanks very much.
Welcome to the "NewsHour."
Today, a National Security Council spokesperson told me that the U.S. is calling for a -- quote - - "credible, independent, outside Iran, investigation into the schoolgirl incidents."
Is that the correct approach?
BEHNAM BEN TALEBLU, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies: Pleasure to be with you, Nick.
It is indeed the correct approach.
As you know, there has been about 1,000 of these reported cases of schoolgirl poisonings across Iran really since November, which is about two months after nationwide anti-regime protests led by women and indeed young girls began and indeed is bravely continuing.
The regime has been forced into by parent pressure, by social pressure, by street pressure into conducting an investigation.
Today, the country's supreme leader talked about those poisonings for the first time ever.
But it's highly likely that,if there is any investigation by the government of Iran, it may aim to avoid blame or point a finger elsewhere.
NICK SCHIFRIN: We will continue to focus on that story, but I want to switch you to another story, Iran's advancing nuclear program.
As you know, the IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, found on an unannounced visit to one of Iran's nuclear sites, enriched particles up to 84 percent.
Why is that significant?
BEHNAM BEN TALEBLU: You know, 84 percent is just the hop, skip and a jump away from 90 percent, which is the purity you need for weapons-grade uranium.
And many may remember, from about a decade ago, people were trying to stop Iran enriching to any level, 3 to 5 percent, even, on their own territory.
What the 2015 nuclear deal tried to lock in and cap was just under that 5 percent.
But, really, in the past two years, the regime has resumed enrichment to 20 percent purity, which is considered highly enriched, by the way.
And then, in April 2021, the month talks actually restarted indirectly with the Biden administration, the regime went to 60 percent purity, something it threatened to do a decade ago, but never felt comfortable doing until now; 84 percent is clearly the regime testing the red lines of the West, if you ask me, and perhaps even practicing for a potential future breakout scenario.
NICK SCHIFRIN: The IAEA head, Rafael Grossi, visited Tehran this past weekend, and he said in a press conference in Tehran that Iran would allow the restoration of IAEA cameras that Iran had removed and also work with the IAEA on previous cases.
But, today, Grossi, back in Vienna, said, actually, that cooperation will depend on future discussions.
So, how do you think the international community can hold Iran to its promises?
BEHNAM BEN TALEBLU: Well, the problem with the get-go, as the regime is increasing its nuclear output both qualitatively and quantitatively, it is actually diminishing much of the monitoring.
And, in fact, Rafael Grossi before the IAEA board today talked about that they still don't know where Iran is making centrifuge rotors and centrifuge bellows, as well as exact heavy water output, as well as several other technical components that go into the regime's nuclear program that were supposed to be monitored and were supposed to be governed by safeguards.
The moment after Grossi departs, you have had a host of Iranian hard-line media outlets and people affiliated with the hard-line establishment inside Iran talk about how the things Grossi had said were agreed upon were actually not true and walking it back.
So, it makes sense that Grossi said much of these hinge on Iranian political promises.
The challenges -- that's always been the challenge with the Islamic Republic.
It's always voluntary, and it's always political, which means the regime remains in the nuclear driver's seat.
NICK SCHIFRIN: When it comes to U.S. policy, the U.S. has a choice right now whether to censure Iran in front of the IAEA Board of.
And, overall, the U.S. has argued that it has taken steps to deter Iran and prevent further Iranian attacks, including one on Saudi Arabia.
Let's take a listen to the National Security Council staff's top official on the Middle East, Brett McGurk.
BRETT MCGURK, White House Coordinator For the Middle East and North Africa: In the last two years, the United States has acted militarily against threats from Iran and its proxies.
We have enhanced the deterrent capacity of our partners, established new and innovative maritime domain awareness that works and, at times, through close cooperation, exposed and deterred imminent threats to the region.
And, just last month in the Eastern Mediterranean, as many of you know, we held the largest joint military exercise ever in that part of the world, something that our adversaries certainly noticed.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Do you think Iran has gotten the message that Brett McGurk believes the U.S. has sent?
BEHNAM BEN TALEBLU: You know, all those things are necessary, but not sufficient from deterring Iran and from changing the regime's calculus.
The cadre of men at the helm today are ultra hard-line.
And the things that they remember are actually the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, besting America in Syria in recent years, if you will, showing that the regime has greater staying power than the U.S. in the heartland of the Middle East, continuing to find new and innovative ways to proliferate weapons, not just the Middle East, but, as you have seen now, with heightening military ties between Russia and Iran, drone proliferation to the heart of Europe, even.
So, all those things are necessary, but not sufficient, to change the calculus on the nuclear file.
A resolution of censure is the price floor.
You need Security Council referral, and ultimately a snapping back or a restoration of tougher multilateral sanctions that used to exist prior to the 2015 nuclear deal.
That option is only legally and politically available to America and Europe until 2025.
And then it actually dissipates.
It goes away.
So if increasing military threats by the regime, increasing domestic suppression and increasing nuclear escalation are not sufficient to trigger that mechanism, my question for the administration is, well, what is?
NICK SCHIFRIN: Behnam Ben Taleblu, thank you very much.
BEHNAM BEN TALEBLU: Thank you.
AMNA NAWAZ: Which person and what message would offer the Republican Party the best chance to win back the White House next year?
Those are two questions generating a lot of discussion among potential candidates and grassroots activists.
Lisa Desjardins has this roundup of the weekend debate.
LISA DESJARDINS: The Republican field is taking shape.
LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): It was a tough decision, but I have decided that I will not be a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.
LISA DESJARDINS: As former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a moderate, says he will sit out the 2024 race for the White House.
His concern, splitting the opposition to former President Donald Trump.
LARRY HOGAN: I didn't want to have a pileup of a bunch of people fighting.
CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): Thank you for your service.
We're moving on.
LISA DESJARDINS: One potential candidate still deciding, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, also wants to move past Trump, but will back him if he wins the nomination.
CHRIS SUNUNU: Yes, look, I'm a lifelong Republican.
I'm going to support the Republican nominee.
LISA DESJARDINS: This, as Trump... ANNOUNCER: President Donald J. Trump!
LISA DESJARDINS: ... heard cheers Saturday on political home turf.
His speech at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, was a mix of philosophy and fabrication, but something new.
The former president who once railed against mail-in and some early voting is changing strategy.
DONALD TRUMP, Former President of the United States: Republicans must compete using every lawful means to win.
That means swamping the left with mail-in votes, early votes and Election Day votes.
LISA DESJARDINS: Trump, in the midst of multiple investigations, told reporters he will stay in the race even if indicted.
On stage, he seemed to lash out at key rival Ron DeSantis, who once wanted to privatize Social Security.
DONALD TRUMP: We are not going back to people who want to destroy our great Social Security system, even some in our own party.
I wonder who that might be.
LISA DESJARDINS: The Florida governor, who now says he won't disrupt Social Security, wasn't at CPAC.
He told others last week that Republicans have sat back like potted plants and need to push on cultural issues.
That is the theme for other Republicans too, including at CPAC, where some remarks about anti-LGBTQ and anti-transgender legislation ignited immediate concern.
MICHAEL KNOWLES, Conservative Commentator: The political stakes for our country are very, very high.
LISA DESJARDINS: Conservative author and commentator Michael Knowles drew criticism for these words: MICHAEL KNOWLES: Transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.
LISA DESJARDINS: Which some said amounted to a call for genocide.
Knowles, who has made similar remarks before, both doubled down and pushed back on his online show.
MICHAEL KNOWLES: Nobody is calling to exterminate anybody, because the other problem with that statement is that transgender people is not a real ontological category.
It's not a legitimate category of being.
LISA DESJARDINS: Transgender is a recognized category in science, medicine and, per one recent study, the identity of some 1.6 million Americans.
As Republicans pushed further right, a Democrat from the left jumped in.
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), Presidential Candidate: I'm a candidate for the office of president of the United States.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) LISA DESJARDINS: Author Marianne Williamson, whose 2020 attempt failed, announced her longshot campaign, making her the first Democrat to challenge President Biden.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.
AMNA NAWAZ: Presidential primary voters will cast their first ballots in less than a year.
As the field begins to take shape and pressure mounts, divisions within the GOP are becoming clearer.
For an insiders' view on what's happening, we have Doug Heye, the former communications director to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and to the Republican National Committee, and David Avella, chairman of GOPAC, a Republican super PAC which trains and assists candidates up and down the ballot.
Welcome to you both.
Thanks for being here.
DAVID AVELLA, Chairman, GOPAC: Thank you.
DOUG HEYE, Republican Strategist: Thank you.
AMNA NAWAZ: David, let's start with Governor Hogan's decision not to run, specifically, specifically to discourage a crowded field that he believes could benefit former President Trump.
If you are another candidate, a potential candidate who is polling in single digits like he was, do you have to now weigh the same concerns?
DAVID AVELLA: Absolutely.
You look at Ron DeSantis, who is sitting there with well over $90 million sitting in his bank account, he's clearly right now a contender to be the nominee, and you're looking at that and you're saying, wow, where do I get the oxygen, it's actually what Governor Hogan said.
He goes, so much of the oxygen right now is being taken up by former President Trump and by Governor DeSantis, that there really isn't a lane for me.
And that's why he passed.
AMNA NAWAZ: Doug, you see it the same way?
DOUG HEYE: I do.
And part of that is also how the committee, the RNC, is structuring, or has structured in 2015 and '16 these primaries.
If you start with winner-take-all, well, that means if David's running against me, and he gets one more vote, he gets all the delegates.
If you're running and you're at 2 percent or 4 percent in the polls or in the -- ultimately, in a primary, and it's winner-take-all, if you're -- if your concern is Donald Trump, your 2 percent, your 6 percent may be actually helping Donald Trump to get all of those delegates in a particular state.
AMNA NAWAZ: I'm curious.
When you look at the field of the potentials and even Governor Hogan, who's now said he is not running, the popularity of Republican governors in blue states or purple states does not seem to be translating nationally right now, right?
You have Charlie Baker, who left Massachusetts, went to run the NCAA, Governor Hogan saying he's not running.
Why do you think that is?
DOUG HEYE: Governors are known in their states.
They, by and large, unless they are in large states or are catching fire for some other reason, aren't really known that well outside of their states.
They have to then really work hard in that process.
A good example was a guy named Bill Clinton.
Nobody really knew nationally who Bill Clinton was because he was -- and the criticism on him was, he was a failed governor, Republicans said -- we will leave that open to debate - - but of a small state.
And that was certainly true then.
And it was very hard for him to really get known.
Eventually, obviously, it worked for him.
But that's what these governors have to overcome in these early parts of the primary process.
DAVID AVELLA: What we're also seeing, though, is, is that not only are Republican governors popular in Democratic-led states.
They're also popular in Republican-led states.
And that's why you see the migration from Democratic -- traditionally Democratic states, California, Illinois, New York, the migration over the last few years have been to Southern states, whether that be Florida, or Tennessee, or North Carolina, all those leading into where Americans are ultimately moving to.
So, it's Republican governors in Democratic and Republican states that are getting high approval marks.
AMNA NAWAZ: I'm curious.
When you look at some of the folks we just heard from, potential candidates and candidates - - Nikki Haley, in particular, you see where they go to address potential voters, right?
It seems like you either go to CPAC to address sort of the populist crowd, or you go to Club for Growth and talk to the establishment voters.
Is this where the rift is right now in the Republican Party?
DAVID AVELLA: If you want to get to Republican voters, you go to social media, which is where anybody who wants to amplify their message... AMNA NAWAZ: But candidates has made a choice to either go to CPAC or Club for Growth, right?
Only Nikki Haley went to both.
DAVID AVELLA: Well, Governor DeSantis went to California and went to the Reagan Ranch, so -- or the Reagan Library, I should say.
So, there are many places.
And this -- look, we have a long time to go.
Let's keep in mind the last few winners of the CPAC straw poll was Ted Cruz, Ron Paul, Ron Paul, and Ron Paul.
It's not been a particularly good indicator of who our nominee is going to be.
Now, maybe President Trump will ultimately be the nominee.
We have a long way to go before we know that.
DOUG HEYE: And, to David's point, I was wearing my 2012 Iowa straw poll T-shirt.
A lot of people forget who won in 2012.
It was Michele Bachmann.
Her campaign didn't do well.
We should disregard straw polls.
They're fun to talk about, but they are not even cotton candy level of nutritional value for politics.
AMNA NAWAZ: You mentioned governors having trouble going outside their states.
Now, Doug, you made this point.
Is Ron DeSantis going to have that same problem?
DAVID AVELLA: It doesn't look like it.
I mean, he's well into the mid 20s to 30s, depending on which poll you see.
He clearly is getting lift.
And his donor base isn't just from Florida.
I mean, he's raising money across the country.
But he has gotten the ability to get some oxygen and get some attention.
And that's why you see him where he is in the polls right now.
AMNA NAWAZ: We have seen as well, though, his -- he's running on sort of this anti-woke agenda, right?
When you look at Governor Hogan, who said "I am not going to run in this field," now, he is firmly a Reagan Republican, right, even wrote in Ronald Reagan for president in 2020, instead of voting for then-candidate Trump.
Is that school of thought, is that unelectable in the Republican Party right now, that Reagan Republican?
DOUG HEYE: I don't think we know yet.
And we're coming up on the 40th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's evil Empire speech.
And, certainly, we will be talking about that over the next week and what that meant in regards to what it means now with Russia and Ukraine.
And if you look at the audience at CPAC, for instance, not very firmly behind Ukraine right now, where they were a year ago.
So, where Republicans are going to be on this issue really depends quite often on where their voters are going to be, but, also, are they going to be able to lead in those areas and what's their traction going to be?
It really still remains to be seen.
I'm nervous about it, especially on the Ukraine issue.
But we have to wait and see.
AMNA NAWAZ: It strikes me, David, the two candidates who are leading our polls by a mile, former President Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis, aren't really talking about the economy or taxes or foreign policy even.
They're talking about the social and cultural, divisive kind of issues.
Is that what we're going to continue to see.
DAVID AVELLA: I would push back there a little bit.
Governor DeSantis does talk about the economic success that they are having in Florida.
He does talk about the tax cuts that they have pushed the last few years through the legislature.
Ultimately, he's talking to social and economic conservatives, which, if you're going to put a winning coalition together, you have to be able to talk to Republicans who are concerned about the economy and about their security.
AMNA NAWAZ: Doug, you see it the same way?
DOUG HEYE: I do.
And what's interesting about Ron DeSantis is, he hasn't taken any of the bait from Donald Trump.
And to use David's word oxygen, that means he's denying Donald Trump some of the oxygen that Donald Trump needs, which is, he's spoiling for a fight.
He clearly wants to get in a fight with DeSantis as he comes up with nicknames.
Ron DeSantis doesn't do things accidentally.
He's choosing not to respond.
And that may not be sustainable for a year.
But, right now, it's the smart and strategic thing to do.
DAVID AVELLA: And it's a playbook that Governor Brian Kemp used in Georgia, as President -- former President Trump came after him in the primary.
He didn't engage.
And he ultimately went on to win not only the primary last year, but also a huge win against Stacey Abrams, who was the Democratic star.
AMNA NAWAZ: And a huge caveat, we have to say, it is March of 2023.
DAVID AVELLA: Absolutely.
(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: We will be having this conversation a lot more over the months ahead.
Gentlemen, thank you so much, David Avella and Doug Heye.
DOUG HEYE: Thank you.
DAVID AVELLA: Thank you.
AMNA NAWAZ: And, tomorrow, we will continue our conversation about the future of the Republican Party when we sit down with former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.
GEOFF BENNETT: We will be back shortly.
But, first, take a moment to hear from your local PBS station.
AMNA NAWAZ: It's a chance to offer your support, which helps to keep programs like this one on the air.
For those of you staying with us, we take a second look at an effort to spotlight Native arts.
Indigenous American artists have historically been overlooked, but they are getting more attention these days.
And one new project has found a way to push the movement further ahead.
Jeffrey Brown has our encore report for our arts and culture series, canvas.
JEFFREY BROWN: On a hilltop in New York's Hudson Valley, buildings housing artworks created by contemporary indigenous artists from the U.S. and Canada, among them, Never Forget by Tlingit/Unanga artist Nicholas Galanin, Beauty the Beast by Santa Clara Pueblo artist Rose Simpson, Warhorse in Babylon by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai.
Curator Candice Hopkins: CANDICE HOPKINS, Executive Director, Forge Project: I say it's a bit of an activist collection because it's meant to -- it's meant to correct this absence, particularly for these major institutions.
JEFFREY BROWN: An activist collection?
CANDICE HOPKINS: Yes, which means that it has a single purpose.
Its purpose is to support the work of living artists making work right now.
JEFFREY BROWN: Some of the activism is making sure it gets out in the world.
CANDICE HOPKINS: Absolutely.
And we try to reduce as many barriers to that as possible.
JEFFREY BROWN: Hopkins, a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation in the Canadian Yukon territory, is now executive director of Forge Project, co-founded in 2021 by philanthropist Becky Gochman and art dealer Zach Feuer with a clear mission, to support Native artists through purchases of their work, and then to lend those works to museums and other arts institutions, raising awareness of and access to Native art.
It's part of what Hopkins sees as a growing movement.
CANDICE HOPKINS: People are recognizing that one of the missing narratives in American art history is actually the narrative of the development of Native art, and the influence Native art has had even on how we understand this country, how we understand the formation of this country.
JEFFREY BROWN: The buildings that house Forge were originally designed by famed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
The location, the land itself, is important.
CANDICE HOPKINS: Forge is about establishing presence, right?
It's about indigenous placemaking.
And that's not about people.
It's of the places... JEFFREY BROWN: And it's not just about the art.
CANDICE HOPKINS: And it's not just about the art.
It's about the places where we live.
JEFFREY BROWN: This is an area known to the famed 19th century Hudson River School of Art, landscapes that captured the drama and beauty, but not the original inhabitants who had been killed or displaced farther west.
CANDICE HOPKINS: To return to this region, I think, for Native folks is also to talk about what that original desire was, but to say, there's actually longer histories of these lands.
They have been populated for an incredibly long period of time JEFFREY BROWN: But Forge's main target is the art world.
Its collection now has some 144 works by 48 artists.
And it has loaned art to institutions far and wide, including the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Tucson Museum of art, the Whitney in New York.
For Hopkins, 45, it represents a shift from when she was first starting out.
CANDICE HOPKINS: There were so many good Native artists working in contemporary art, but they still weren't getting the big shows.
It was a kind of -- the beginnings of a kind of national conversation that had been coming actually since the '60s.
But what they needed was, they needed allies in these large institutions.
JEFFREY BROWN: Bias, racism, hostility, what is it?
What do you think?
CANDICE HOPKINS: I think that there was definite bias.
And I think that most of the people that were in positions of power had no knowledge of this work.
And they didn't take the time to get to know it.
That shows that there's a kind of elitism that underpins a lot of institutions.
And it kept a lot of us out.
JEFFREY BROWN: Forge offers residencies to Native artists of all kinds.
One is Laura Ortman, a White Mountain Apache who's long lived and worked in New York.
A musician and composer, her sonic genre bending has been heard and seen in performing arts venues and museum exhibitions.
Forge and other new initiatives, she says, are making a difference.
LAURA ORTMAN, Musician and Composer: We could find each other for these pathways artistically, which I was missing for many decades.
Something's happened where that loneliness and isolation is disappearing.
And why is that?
Because we're making spaces for ourself.
We're taking care of our own communities and making sure it's not silenced anymore.
I love that.
JEFFREY BROWN: Also expanding, the scope, subject matter and styles that define indigenous art today.
Some contemporary artists are using older materials, such as beads, long considered the stuff of craft, in new ways.
Others find new paths to explore long-simmering issues of land use and displacement.
CANDICE HOPKINS: One of the definitions of Native art is that we don't have boundaries between our -- I'd say our personal lives, our political lives, and artistic lives, because they're all intertwined.
We -- in a way, we don't have that privilege.
JEFFREY BROWN: Exhibitions of Native artists at leading museums in recent years offer signs of change.
Forge aims to build on that momentum.
CANDICE HOPKINS: You need to have support from institutions and collectors.
There needs to be critical writing about that work, so catalogs and essays, exhibitions.
There needs to be an art market, so that we're being represented by galleries.
JEFFREY BROWN: In theory, if you're successful, then you wouldn't be needed anymore.
CANDICE HOPKINS: That's right.
JEFFREY BROWN: You would go out of business.
CANDICE HOPKINS: Right.
And that would be -- that would be success.
JEFFREY BROWN: That day remains far off.
For now, the collecting and lending continue.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown at Forge Project in New York's Hudson Valley.
AMNA NAWAZ: And that report was part of a series on contemporary Native arts.
You can find the other stories in that series on our Web site.
GEOFF BENNETT: Judy Heumann, who has been called the mother of the disability rights movement, has died at the age of 75.
President Biden, in a statement noting her passing, called her a -- quote -- "trailblazer," a rolling warrior for disability rights in America.
Heumann, who lost her ability to walk at age 2 after contracting polio, lobbied for legislation that led to the passage of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act.
Tonight, we hear her in own her own words, as we revisit her Brief But Spectacular take on the disability rights movement.
JUDITH HEUMANN, Author, "Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist": When I was 5 years old in Brooklyn, New York, on East 38th Street, my mother did what every other parent did when their kid was 5.
She took me to school to register me.
And this was in the early 1950s.
There were no motorized wheelchairs.
So she pushed me to school, and it wasn't accessible.
She pulled me up the steps.
And the principal said I couldn't go to school because I was a fire hazard.
I don't really know that there was an explanation.
It just was.
I think the average person, they see disability as a threat, as a threat to not being able to do things as people have typically done them.
And I think there's truth in that.
But the question is, is it because one has a disability or because society itself has constructed itself in such a way because they haven't seen us?
Discrimination against disabled people has existed from the beginning of time.
And we're in a place right now where, because of other movements, the civil rights movement, the women's movement, Black Lives Matter movement, et cetera, people are speaking up and out.
One of the first pieces of legislation that the disability community really engaged in was getting regulations developed for a provision of law Section 504.
Section 504 says you can't discriminate against someone who has a disability if the entity is receiving money from the federal government.
It was the first time that many of these young disabled people felt a part of something, and really felt that they were making a difference, not only for their lives, but for the lives of many others.
There is a shift, I believe, going on in our society, where we're looking at race and gender, equality, and disability as issues that we need to address, that diversity is something that makes our companies stronger, that diverse businesses provide better services for customers.
I also am a very big believer that the disability rights community cannot stand on its own.
We need to be working with all other movements, and we want all other movements to be inclusive of disabled people.
If we are actively learning and working together, we can do things like make sure, when housing is being built in our communities, that it's accessible, not just for people who have physical disabilities today, but if you're going to have a physical disability tomorrow.
I think having a disability really has allowed me to do and get in touch with so many things and opportunities that otherwise would not have happened.
People look at us as the label of our disability.
And it is a part of who we are, but it is not who we are.
My name is Judy Heumann, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on the disability rights movement.
GEOFF BENNETT: Hers was a life that made a difference.
AMNA NAWAZ: Absolutely.
She will be missed.
GEOFF BENNETT: And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight.
Join us again here tomorrow, where we will speak with this year's winner of architecture's most distinguished award, the Pritzker Prize.
I'm Geoff Bennett.
AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz.
On behalf of the entire "NewsHour" team, thank you for joining us.