AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening. I'm Amna Nawaz.
Judy Woodruff is away. On the "NewsHour" tonight: The crisis continues.
Despite growing calls for a cease-fire, the death toll rises, as Israeli forces strike
Gaza, and Hamas fires more rockets into Israel. Then: insurrection aftermath. Partisan politics
in Congress hold up investigations into the violent storming of the Capitol by a mob of
Trump supporters. And a toxic standard. The devastating impact
on people of color from social and commercial pressure to lighten skin. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In almost every corner
of the planet, there's a huge social dividend that comes from being lighter-skinned. Sociologists
trace it back centuries to European colonization, slavery and class or caste. AMNA NAWAZ: All that and more on tonight's
"PBS NewsHour." (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Israel and Hamas forces in Gaza
may be edging closer to a cease-fire tonight, after 10 days of open war.
Egyptian mediators say there's a truce agreement
in principle. A top Hamas official says he expects fighting to stop in a day or two.
Pressure to end the conflict built today, with 227 Gazans and 12 Israelis killed so
far. John Yang begins our coverage. JOHN YANG: In a telephone call before leaving
the White House this morning, President Biden stepped up pressure on Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu to ease the fight with Hamas in Gaza.
The White House said Mr. Biden told his Israeli
counterpart that he expected significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire, the administration's
most assertive public language yet. Later, Netanyahu seemed to rebuff the president,
saying he is determined to continue this operation until its aim is met. Briefing foreign ambassadors
to Israel, he said the aim is to return calm for Israelis and blunt attacks from the militant
group. BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Israeli Prime Minister:
We are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say, we don't rule out anything.
We hope we can restore quiet. We hope we can restore it quickly. JOHN YANG: Overnight, Israel said 52 warplanes
bombarded more than 40 targets in a network of tunnels under Gaza that they say are used
to hide fighters and move weapons.
The attack lasted more than 25 minutes. The Israeli military
says it tries to limit civilian casualties by sending warnings shortly before airstrikes. NIHAD AL-TAWIL, Gaza Resident (through translator):
I received on my mobile phone a call from a private number. They asked me to clear the
area and to move all my neighbors out. JOHN YANG: Despite the warnings, the damage
is still devastating. In the Southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis, university Professor Ahmad
Al-Astal surveyed what was left of a home for 40 of his family members.
AHMAD AL-ASTAL, Gaza Resident (through translator):
This behind us reflects the humanity in them, demolishing the houses while its inhabitants
are inside, people leaving their houses during the night, terrifying children and the elderly.
By God, we left with our mother. We couldn't carry her, but the fear made us carry her. JOHN YANG: The United Nations says at least
58,000 Palestinians in Gaza have had to flee their homes since the fighting began. In Cairo today, the Arab League met to express
support for Palestinians. Members wore traditional Palestinian black-and-white scarves in a show
of solidarity. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
told the meeting that Israel was committing war crimes. MAHMOUD ABBAS, Palestinian Authority President
(through translator): What the occupation is doing in Gaza, destruction of infrastructure,
as well as the killing of women, elderly and children, is organized state terrorism carried
out by the Israeli occupation and war crimes punishable by international law.
JOHN YANG: The Israeli military says Hamas
has fired more than 3,700 rockets from Gaza since the conflict began and that about 90
percent have been intercepted by its missile defense system. But the pace appears to be declining, with
about 50 fired last night. Still, they are terrifying Israelis, sending them fleeing
for cover, as these did today in Ashdod along the coast between Gaza and Tel Aviv. BENZION KAN, Ashdod Resident (through translator):
I was at a nearby street. I heard the insane explosion. My wife called to say the blinds
broke. And, as you can see up there, above the building, all the blinds are broken. I
can see my car is also hit by shrapnel. JOHN YANG: Some Israelis in Ashkelon, just
north of Gaza, don't want the military operations to stop until the rockets do. ITAMAR BURAK, Ashkelon Resident (through translator):
We are not ready for a cease-fire, absolutely not. The rockets that hit us every day are
enough for us. Every several months, Hamas decides it wants to shoot at us. It fires
at us. Then it decides it wants a cease-fire. JOHN YANG: Outside Jerusalem's Old City, these
Israeli women protested for peace.
But more potential fronts are opening up.
Four rockets were fired from Southern Lebanon into Northern Israel, the third barrage from
Lebanese territory in the past week. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang. AMNA NAWAZ: In the day's other news: Democrats
in the U.S. House of Representatives moved to create an independent commission to investigate
the Capitol assault last January. The bill debated today began as bipartisan legislation,
but the top Republican leaders in the House and the Senate have now announced their opposition. We will go deeper into this story after the
news summary. The New York state attorney general's office
has now opened a criminal probe into former President Trump's family business. At issue
is whether the Trump Organization falsely reported property values to get better loans
and tax benefits.
Mr. Trump blasted the investigation today, and said he's being unfairly attacked. More pandemic restrictions were eased today
across the country, new signs that life is returning to something like normal. New York
City began letting fully-vaccinated people go without masks in most situations. It also
allowed most businesses to open at full capacity. Meanwhile, the European Union moved to reopen
borders to vaccinated travelers from outside the 27-nation bloc. CHRISTIAN WIGAND, Spokesperson, European Commission:
The council now recommends that member states ease some of the current restrictions, in
particular for those vaccinated with an E.U.-authorized vaccine. The council should also soon expand the list
of non-E.U. countries with a good epidemiological situation from where travel is permitted,
based on the new criteria agreed today. AMNA NAWAZ: Despite progress elsewhere, the
pandemic in India hit another grim record, more than 4,500 deaths in 24 hours. It's the
worst single-day toll in any nation since the pandemic began. Search teams off Western India have found
26 more bodies from an oil barge that sank during a tropical cyclone on Monday.
still looking for 49 others. The region's most powerful storm in two decades tore up
trees, flooded roads, and damaged more than 16,000 homes as it ripped across the region.
The overall death toll has now reached 62. Back in this country, Texas became the largest
state yet to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law today. The new statute uniquely bars state
officials from enforcing the ban. Instead, it allows private citizens to sue doctors
or anyone who aids in an abortion. Survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre issued
a call for justice today, nearly 100 years after some of the worst racial violence in
U.S. history. On the night of May 31, 1921, white mobs killed 39 people, destroyed much
of a thriving Black district and left thousands homeless. A U.S. House hearing today marked
the upcoming 100th anniversary. Viola Fletcher is 107, and believed to be
the oldest known survivor. VIOLA FLETCHER, Tulsa Race Massacre Survivor:
I have lived through the massacre everyday. Our country may forget this history, but I
cannot. I will not. And other survivors do not, and our descendants do not.
For 70 years, the city of Tulsa and its Chamber
of Commerce told us that the massacre didn't happen, like we didn't see it with our own
eyes. AMNA NAWAZ: Attorneys for massacre victims
and their descendants are now suing the city of Tulsa for reparations. And on Wall Street today, stocks gave ground
for a third straight trading session. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 164 points
to close at 33896. The Nasdaq fell four points, and the S&P 500 gave up 12. And a passing to note. Comedian and actor Paul Mooney died today
at his home in Oakland, California, after a heart attack. His unfiltered take on race
and American life made him widely influential, and he long collaborated with comedy legend
Richard Pryor. Mooney also appeared on TV's "Chappelle Show" and in Spike Lee's 2001 film
"Bamboozled." Paul Mooney was 79 years old. Still to come on the "NewsHour": what can
Do to help end the escalating Israel-Gaza conflict?; the debate over vaccine passports
and why it matters; pressure to lighten skin and its devastating impact on people of color;
plus much more. For decades, the U.S. has supported Israel
in word and deed, vocally backing up its defense policy, and supplying tens of billions of
dollars in aid and weapons. Now some within the Democratic Party are questioning
that support and challenging President Biden's handling of this new war between Israel and
Hamas. Here again is John Yang. JOHN YANG: Amna, this latest crisis in the
Middle East is turning out to be almost as much a test for President Biden and U.S. policy
in the Middle East as it is for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Daniel Brumberg is the director of democracy
and governance studies at Georgetown University. Daniel Brumberg, thanks so much for joining
In the last couple of days, we have seen Representative
Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, who has been very critical of
President Biden on this issue, press him on the tarmac at the airport in Detroit when
he arrived yesterday. Today, 138 House Democrats urged the president
to press both sides for a cease-fire as soon as possible. What do these sort of internal
Democratic Party forces do? How is this affecting President Biden's response? DANIEL BRUMBERG, Georgetown University: Well,
these developments suggest that the ground is shifting in quite dramatic ways.
And I think the ground is shifting not only
in Congress, but in the broader American population and, to some extent, in the Jewish-American
population as well. And it's going to pose a real challenge for Biden to sort of balance
the position of mainstream supporters in his party for Israel and the growing concern not
only in Congress, but beyond Congress, regarding the absence of a two-state solution and justice
for the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank or the occupied territories. So, he's going to have to walk a very difficult
line, and he's going to have to do to really not being prepared, in the sense that this
is not an administration that went into this situation expecting the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict to be uppermost on its agenda. It's really something they had to sort of react
to very quickly.
JOHN YANG: What do you expect to hear from
the president as we go forward? I mean, today, he shifted, saying that, today, he wanted
to see evidence of de-escalation, on a path to a cease-fire. What should we expect to
hear? And what should be — you expect the approach
to be from the White House? DANIEL BRUMBERG: Well, I mean, I — today,
we heard his expectations. He communicated them to the Israeli prime minister. Netanyahu
was not terribly receptive. And now we hear the news that there may be a cease-fire. My sense is that something along the lines
of cease-fire will come in the next day or two, and Israel, from its own sort of perspective
of the Israeli government, will achieve most of what it sought to achieve militarily in
But I think we should expect an initiative,
not a peace initiative, but an initiative from the administration to demonstrate that
it's engaged on this issue. A number of scholars and experts have suggested
things like sending an American ambassador to Israel, which would be very helpful, sending
a more high-level negotiator to the region representing President Biden directly, perhaps
taking an initiative like reopening the American Consulate in Jerusalem, a whole number of
issues, so far from — instead of putting out a peace plan, per se, or anything like
that, to take initiatives that demonstrate that the U.S. is engaged and will be engaged. And that's the first thing I think we should
expect. And I think the United States will do that, with the support of its European
allies and many friends in the Arab world. JOHN YANG: Of course, over the past four years,
under the Trump administration, the United States has had virtually no relationship with
the Palestinians, with the Palestinian Authority.
What are the challenges as the Biden administration
moves to reengage? DANIEL BRUMBERG: Well, I mean, the Trump administration
helped to shepherd in the Abraham Accords, which were an agreement between Israel, Bahrain,
UAE and other Arab states. It turns out that the basis of this agreement
was that Israel got a lot, but gave nothing in return. And the Trump administration didn't
look for anything in return.
And it's — and that sort of legacy is with us today, because
the administration has been really disengaged — disengaged from the Palestinian conflict,
until really now. Suddenly, it finds itself facing this challenge.
So the administration will have to engage on a multilateral level. It will try to pull
in its Arab colleagues. But it really has to engage in a dialogue with the Israeli government
as well, and demonstrate that it understands the fundamental challenges facing Israel. Let's understand that the Hamas is an organization
which has never accepted Israel's existence, and rejects a two-state solution. So, on the
Gaza/Palestinian/Israeli front, cease-fires are what you want. What you get beyond that
is always a big question. But the name of the game beyond that is for
Israel and the United States to reengage in the future of the West Bank. There are 3.2
million Palestinians who are citizens of nowhere in those territories.
And many of them live
in and around East Jerusalem, which was part of the issue that prompted this whole conflict
recently. And the U.S. really has to demonstrate that
it hears the Palestinians, while at the same time engages with the Israelis. It has to
have that double message. JOHN YANG: You talked about the shifting attitudes
of the Jewish community within the United States. Talk about a little bit more about
How is it shifting? How do they now view the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict? DANIEL BRUMBERG: Well, that's a great question. And I think we have to be honest. There is
a very important and useful debate going on in the American Jewish community about sort
of how to relate to Israel. And it has probably to do with what kind of state Israel will
be. Will it be a Jewish state? Will it be a democratic state? Can it be both, hopefully? And the lion's share of the American Jewish
community remains committed to Israel being a Jewish and a democratic state that lives
in a two-state peace situation with the Palestinians. But, at the same time, there's great consternation
about not only the failure to bring about a two-state solution, but the status of Palestinians
in Israel, Israeli citizens who are Palestinian.
The sectarian violence recently is an existential
issue for Israel. And so, in many respects, what we have ongoing now, I think, from my
own anecdotal experience, is a kind of rising and difficult debate. I think it has to be
said that many American Jews, in engaging with Israel, haven't engaged much with their
own Palestinian population there. And so many — much of this is new and difficult.
And it's a hard conversation to have, but it's a necessary conversation. So, as the administration, the Biden administration,
moves to reengage with the Palestinians and with the Israelis, and push an almost dead
peace process forward, it's going to be critical that this conversation take place. And it's
going to be a difficult one. So — and I can see that the fissures within
the Democratic Party will probably be exploited by the Republican Party for political purposes.
This is Washington, after all. We expect that. But this debate is important to have, nevertheless. JOHN YANG: Daniel Brumberg from Georgetown
University, thank you very much.
DANIEL BRUMBERG: Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, the rise in vaccinations
in the U.S. and other countries means travel will resume in Europe this summer. Fully vaccinated
people will now be able to travel to countries in the European Union this month. And the E.U. is working on a digital pass,
where people can prove they have had a vaccine or a recent negative COVID test. Some countries
have already introduced the idea of this so-called vaccine passport, but, so far, the Biden administration
and most U.S. officials are leery of requiring them here. William Brangham looks at the issues around
all of this. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That's right, Amna. There's already a slew of different cards
and apps that allow you to prove your vaccination status. In some countries, they're expected
to become mandatory in order to travel, or do business, or even enter crowded indoor
spaces. In the U.S., a number of companies are working
on similar products. And while many argue these tools will help us get back to normal
quicker, others have concerns over privacy, over equity, and whether this is one step
closer to mandating vaccination. We look at some of those arguments now with
Larry Gostin — he's a professor of global health law at Georgetown University Law School
— and with Dr.
Georges Benjamin — he's the executive director of the American Public
Health Association. Gentlemen, thank you both very much for being
here. Larry Gostin, to you first. I know you have in the past been supportive
of this idea of some kind of proof of vaccination. Make the case. LAWRENCE GOSTIN, Georgetown University: Yes,
I mean, a lot of people worry about people's rights. And, of course, everybody has a right to make
their own decision about their own health and well-being.
But they don't have the right
to be unmasked and unvaccinated in a crowded place and spread infection. The main concern, of course, is equity. But
vaccine passports will help us get back to normal more quickly, more safely, so long
as everyone who wants a vaccine can get a vaccine. We can't leave anyone behind. So
equity has to be front and center. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Dr. Benjamin, pick that
up. Larry is saying, look, this is a great tool
to get us back to where we all want to be. I know you have some particular concerns about
this. What are those? DR. GEORGES BENJAMIN, Executive Director,
American Public Health Association: Well, let's start about the equity concern. As you know, there are many people who have
not had the opportunity to be vaccinated. And particularly in the United States, we
have enormous disparities that still exist in getting vaccinated. Secondly, while there
are people that have cell phones, everybody doesn't have a cell phone.
And, in fact, the vast majority of people
not only in the United States, but around the world, are going to be using that paper
card. And that paper card, of course, quite frequently cannot be validated in any kind
of meaningful way. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Larry, let's pick up on
some of those questions. Dr. Benjamin is saying, OK, look, not everyone
who wants a vaccine has gotten one yet. And we know that that's true, and especially true
with certain minority populations in the U.S. So, if we start to roll out a passport now,
those people run the risk of being further alienated. LAWRENCE GOSTIN: They are. And the last thing we want to do is give more
privilege for the already privileged. And so we have to deal with equity. So, for example,
a business or a university, and many universities and some businesses have announced that they
will be using proof-of-vaccination systems. So long as they would say to everyone, listen,
if you don't have a vaccine, or you can't get one, we will give it to you for free,
we will offer it to you, that means that everybody who wants a vaccine can get a vaccine.
Georges is absolutely right. Equity is crucially
important. But I do feel that we have a very high level of vaccination coverage. We will
get to even higher. We have ample supply now. And it will grow even more. And it will be
a way to make all of our communities safer and healthier, and also a way to comply with
recent CDC guidance, which makes a sharp distinction between vaccinated people and unvaccinated
people. And so, if we want to follow that guidance,
who needs to wear a mask, who needs to socially distance, you have to have a means to determine
a person's vaccination status.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Dr. Benjamin, what about
that? I mean, as Lawrence Gostin is saying here,
if mask mandates are dropping, which we know they are, and I'm a child or an immunocompromised
person, I have a huge incentive to want to know if I'm inside of a crowded space with
a person who's got a vaccine or not. I mean, at its base, I know you appreciate
the need for this kind of thing. But you're just concerned as to how this might get rolled
out and when; is that right? DR.
GEORGES BENJAMIN: Yes, I'm very concerned
about us being premature in this. And the truth of the matter is, you're never
going to really know who's vaccinated unless you paste it on your forehead. You're trusting
that the card that someone showed you, the app that they showed us is accurate. We as a nation have a long history of misusing
health information for nefarious purposes. There's a risk of people being discriminated
against because of employment, people being asked not to come into a particular establishment,
a business establishment, because they cannot show that they're vaccinated.
So there's a there's an enormous risk of misuse. Now, having said that, I have always been
a strong supporter of ensuring that kids in school are all vaccinated. And I certainly
show my yellow fever vaccination card when I go out of the country.
But we have an established understanding of the science in that. And with all the variants that are coming
here, we're probably going to have to then document this each and every year, because
of the fact we're probably going to have to get booster shots at some point.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Lawrence Gostin, we know
that the WHO is developing some kind of a vaccination records app. Do you wish the CDC and/or the Biden administration
were taking some initiative to help that process along here in the U.S.? LAWRENCE GOSTIN: WHO realizes we need to have
uniform and stringent technical guidance. Now, I am critical of the Biden administration.
They have done a wonderful job getting vaccines into people's arms and following the science.
And I give them really high grades for that. But they can't abdicate the responsibility
to provide sound technical advice and scientific guidance to businesses and states and even
schools that want to develop proof-of-vaccination systems. That way, if we do roll it out, it can be
of uniformly high quality. Otherwise, there will be a free-for-all. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Dr. Benjamin, I want to
touch on a few of the other concerns. There are these privacy concerns, which I have mentioned,
that people are worried about dumping their information into some kind of an app that
might be owned by a private company. But there's also this — the concern over partisanship.
And we have certainly seen this erupt over
masks, over vaccines themselves. We know two Republican governors have already said that
any attempt to put forward a vaccine passport in their state will be prohibited. Do you share the concern that, if we do push
this effort, that this will further politicize the vaccine effort more broadly? DR. GEORGES BENJAMIN: I have a real concern
of that. And I think that one of the things we absolutely
have to do is try to come to some consensus around this. And I think the — these technologies
are wonderful. And I absolutely love the fact that I have a cell phone that I can show my
past to get on the plane. I love it, the fact that it gives me preferential treatment as
I go through the security line. That's wonderful. That's voluntary. And having
a health certificate that I would voluntarily one to share is not a bad idea. And Dr. Gostin — Mr. Gostin is absolutely
correct that we need to have uniform technical guidance.
No question about that. The problem
is that, today in America, we have become so polarized, that I'm afraid that this may
be taken in the wrong direction, and actually undermine our vaccine confidence. So, we need to spend the time getting some
consensus between red states and blue states that this is OK. And then we need to make
sure we understand the science better and where these variants are going. And then,
maybe sometime in the future, this might not be a bad idea. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Larry Gostin, last question
to you. Do you share that concern over partisanship?
You did make the point that public schools everywhere require kids to prove they have
been vaccinated. Do you think that that will not be an issue here? LAWRENCE GOSTIN: No, I mean, partisanship
seems to be an issue with almost everything we do in the United States and certainly with
COVID-19, from masks, and now vaccinations. But the science is really strong that this
can be done well and can get us back to normal. We just need to focus on equity. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Larry Gostin,
Dr. Georges Benjamin, thank you both very much for being here.
DR. GEORGES BENJAMIN: Thank you. LAWRENCE GOSTIN: Thanks. Appreciate it. AMNA NAWAZ: The death of George Floyd last
year has shone a spotlight on what it means to be Black, especially to be dark-skinned
in America. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has
our report from Minnesota, home to a growing population of African and other immigrants. It is part of our continuing series Race Matters
and Fred's series Agents For Change. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Amira Adawe remembers
the first time she came to this mall, popular in Minneapolis' Somali immigrant community. AMIRA ADAWE, Founder, The Beautywell Project:
One of the women, I was buying something from her.
She said: "You know, if you were a little
bit lighter, you will have been more beautiful." FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Just casually, somebody
you had never known before. AMIRA ADAWE: Just casually, yes. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Being told she'd be more
beautiful if she were a bit lighter is nothing new for Amira Adawe. Prejudice against dark
skin, or colorism, is pervasive even where people are dark-skinned, like Somalia, where
she grew up. AMIRA ADAWE: My mother's friends sometimes
would say like that I am darker compared to my sister. But my mother always used to say,
"She's very beautiful," and so being very protective. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In almost every corner
of the planet, there's a huge social dividend that comes from being lighter-skinned. Sociologists
trace it back centuries to European colonization, slavery and class or caste. Studies show people with lighter complexions
earn more, are less likely to be arrested and, if convicted, serve shorter sentences
than people with darker skin.
Whiteness is the global beauty standard. It
is reinforced in marketing by the multibillion-dollar business of skin lightening products, hundreds
of obscure brands, and some very well-known ones as well. Fair & Lovely is one of the most recognizable
brands across South Asia and parts of Africa. It's made by Unilever, better known in America
for Dove, Caress and dozens of other household products. Sociologist Margaret Hunter has studied colorism
globally. MARGARET HUNTER, University of California,
Berkeley: In some countries, the names are very overt, White and Beautiful, White Dream.
NARRATOR: Introducing new Olay whitening body
wash. MARGARET HUNTER: In other countries, including
the United States, we use a little bit more coded language, but they are selling the same
set of values. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Skin creams have long
been marketed to Black and brown Americans, but when Adawe arrived here at 19, she discovered
that, as an immigrant, she was part of a specific targeted audience. AMIRA ADAWE: It's not only limited to the
Somalis, but also the Asian communities, the Hmong community, and the Latinx communities. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Armed with a master's
degree in public health, she started a group called Beautywell, creating an awareness campaign
with the Minnesota Department of Health that warned about skin lightening creams that were
tested and found to contain mercury, and a petition drive with the Sierra Club that got
25,000 signatures demanding that Amazon stop selling lotions with the banned toxin.
AMIRA ADAWE: I was able to deliver these petitions
and letter to Amazon. And the following day, we learned that they have removed the products
off of their Web site. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: But Amazon removed just
those 15 mercury-laced products, she says. There remain dozens of brands, with little,
if any ingredient information sold online and in stores frequented by immigrants. We asked University of St. Thomas journalism
student Safiya Mohamed, who is Somali American, to browse the shelves for us. SAFIYA MOHAMED, College Student: The lady
who sold me this told me how this product will make me look lighter and makes you look
beautiful. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Minneapolis dermatologist
Dr. Margareth Pierre-Louis says some creams don't work as advertised. Others have varying
degrees of toxicity. The most dangerous, and very popular, she adds, are steroid-based
cream. DR. MARGARETH PIERRE-LOUIS, Dermatologist:
They have permanent disfiguration to the face. There is now very white patches on the cheeks,
and there's broken blood vessels and a thinning of the skin that gives these women horrible
photosensitivity, meaning they can't tolerate the sun at all. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Due to both the stigma
and isolation of many consumers, it's a problem that gets little public attention.
AMIRA ADAWE: Only people who had lived experience
know. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Most white people are
just simply not aware of it? AMIRA ADAWE: Yes. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Adawe has tried to bring
a broader awareness, lobbying, among others, Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum. REP. BETTY MCCOLLUM (D-MN): These cosmetics
are coming in basically unregulated. We had 2.9 million cosmetic products were imported
in 20 — this is 20 — it's the 2016 number. One percent were examined, and 15 percent
of that 1 percent had contamination or it had illegal ingredients. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: McCollum has pushed the
federal Food and Drug Administration to step up its enforcement and also arranged federal
grants of $1 million to help programs like Adawe's Beautywell.
REP. BETTY MCCOLLUM: We need to get the inspections
up. We need to get these banned. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: For her part, Adawe uses
podcasts and works with groups of young women to help them understand and fight anti-Blackness
and the use of skin lighteners in their communities. AMIRA ADAWE: Colorism is so much now embed
in cultures, but, lately, what's happening is more awareness. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Awareness that she says
has grown markedly, starting in her own Minnesota backyard after the death of George Floyd. MARGARET HUNTER: One of the things we saw
that was different, I think, from previous protest moments, we saw a lot of corporations
jumping on the bandwagon and wanting to express solidarity. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In the cosmetics sector,
Johnson & Johnson dropped a line called Neutrogena Fine Fairness. J&J is a funder of the "PBS NewsHour." NARRATOR: Our new level of whitening. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Procter & Gamble pledged
to dismantle racism through its advertising. But Olay whitening products are still sold
in Asian markets. And Unilever said it would change the name of Fair & Lovely to: WOMAN: Glow & Lovely.
Fair & Lovely. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Amira Adawe is not impressed. AMIRA ADAWE: They are still promoting colorism.
They still want people to use these products. It does not change the issue. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The cosmetics companies
mentioned here declined to comment. Sociologist Hunter says they, like big corporations in
general, are increasingly being held to account by a new generation of consumers and dark-skinned
influencers. GIRL: "Sulwe" is going to be read to us by
its author, Academy Award-winning actress…
MARGARET HUNTER: We see more and more celebrities
taking positions. And Lupita Nyong'o wrote a children's book recently to specifically
address issues of colorism. As a dark-skinned woman herself, she talked about feeling very
isolated. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: That rings very true for
journalism student Safiya Mohamed. SAFIYA MOHAMED: Although I would never think
about even touching any skin lightening products, the effects of colorism and the desire for
lighter skin really did impact my self-esteem. It is very toxic, especially as a young person,
as a young woman of color. But, over time, I have found ways to become more secure in
my own skin. MARGARET HUNTER: There are definitely signs
of hopefulness, but it's not a quick fix. Colorism is connected to the much larger system
of racism, and it won't go away until racism is also gone.
FRED DE SAM LAZARO: One measure of progress
Amira Adawe will be looking for is a decline in the still robust sales of skin lightening
creams. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Fred de Sam Lazaro
in Minneapolis. AMNA NAWAZ: That report is in partnership
with the Under-Told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. The motto of the United States Secret Service
is worthy of trust and confidence, and its reputation for being an elite force is the
stuff of action movies. But a new book, "Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall
of the Secret Service," from The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig, paints an alarmingly
different picture of the security force in charge of protecting the president. It's an
agency, she says, that is — quote — "in a state of unprecedented peril, whose decline
has been decades in the making, with a frat boy culture." And their mission, as one agent told her,
is fulfilled not on skill nor training, but on — quote — "dumb luck." Carol Leonnig joins me now.
Carol, welcome back to the "NewsHour." It's a striking assessment from so many people
you talked to about the agency that's supposed to be protecting the president. How did it
get this way? CAROL LEONNIG, Author, "Zero Fail: The Rise
and Fall of the Secret Service": You know, there are two major things that sort of brought
the downfall of the Secret Service, the state that it's in now, where agents are whispering
to me that they're worried about a president being killed on their watch. The first is that the Secret Service keeps
a lot of secrets. And some of those secrets are important to keep, like how we keep the
president from inhaling anthrax, but the secret part of the Secret Service has been abused
by some small subset of Secret Service agents, and especially the leadership, to cover up
vulnerabilities, to cover up mistakes, and to cover up sort of gross misconduct that
none of us in America would tolerate in any law enforcement team, much less the most elite
one that protects our democracy.
The second thing that's happened is that the
service has been shortchanged, horribly shortchanged since 9/11. Our country spent billions of
dollars, tens of billions of dollars, protecting us from terror in the skies, so that we fly
safely everywhere we want, and protecting us from terror at our borders and our ports. One tiny, tiny little agency that became sort
of the redheaded stepchild in the huge Department of Homeland Security was the Secret Service.
And now we're at the stage where alarms and sensors on the fence line at the White House
that should be the most secure 18-acre compound in the world are on the fritz and allowing
people to jump in and spend time uninterrupted on that campus. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, you share some stunning
stories and examples over decades in your book.
In your earliest chapters, though, you do
examine what I think it's fair to call the agency's largest failure, which is the assassination
of President Kennedy. It's a story, of course, that's been told so many times. You tell it
from the agents' perspective, though. What did you learn about how they look back
at that moment in history? CAROL LEONNIG: I'm so glad you ask, because
this is such a seminal moment. For our country, it was a tragedy.
just a horrific event to have a president gunned down in an American city. The Secret
Service, for them, this was a gut punch like no other, worse than it was for the country,
a hair shirt they wore for years. It caused suicides in the Secret Service,
alcoholism. It also caused something wonderful, which was the director and the Secret Service
agents that continued to serve were determined, never again. And they rebuilt this agency.
And they gave it a kind of rigger that was something to behold. And their work was vindicated
over the next decades to come. AMNA NAWAZ: There is another stunning chapter
to the Secret Service, more recently under the Trump administration. And I want to ask you about politics and the
Secret Service, because there are some examples you share in there of how the political views
of the agents themselves did show up from time to time.
It's an apolitical agency, but
what did you find about how they managed the political views of the same people who are
meant to keep the president alive? CAROL LEONNIG: You know, it's almost impossible
for the individual protection detail members who protect a president not to get close to
that president and his family. It's very, very difficult. Close in the sense of you're standing beside
someone in their most private moments, and they're the most powerful person in the country,
in the world. But, as an agent, you have to be apolitical, because security is your job,
not your political views. And, unfortunately, in — Donald Trump politicized
this agency and politicized this detail, to the point that his detail leader eventually
became the White House deputy chief of staff on a temporary assignment helping the president
execute his political mission, his political campaigns, and even clearing Lafayette Square,
forcibly removing peaceful protesters, to help burnish the president's image as a law
and order president for his campaign for reelection.
That person is now the assistant director
of the Secret Service, has gone back to working for the Secret Service. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, Carol, that one particular
story about the agent you just mentioned, a man named Anthony Ornato, did strike me,
because, as you mentioned, he's back with the Secret Service now. How does that happen? How does someone go
from a protective role, to a political one, back to the protective one? And what does
that mean for the Secret Service that the Biden administration has now? CAROL LEONNIG: The reason that happened was
basically because two things. It was what the president wanted, and it was what the
director, the current director, Jim Murray, allowed. Jim Murray was very close to Tony Ornato.
And they agreed that this is how it would be, and that he would temporarily be with
the White House, and then he would return to the Secret Service, because he wasn't eligible
for the very generous retirement program that the Secret Service has. And so he was going
to serve some more years at the Secret Service. The Biden transition team was pushing quietly,
gently for a changeover of agents that would be on the presidential detail.
And the Secret
Service agreed, ultimately, not to a full changeover, but to install very new and senior
supervisors on that detail that Biden knew, that he knew from when he was vice president,
because they protected him and ran his detail, and agents who had protected Jill Biden when
she was the second lady under the Obama administration. AMNA NAWAZ: Carol, you tell the story of a
deeply flawed agency.
So, what now? What is it going to take to fix it? CAROL LEONNIG: I think I'd like to channel
the voice of a very, very senior Trump administration official who sat down with me, at some risk
to their career, and said that, after analyzing the Secret Service, they were convinced of
two things. One, there was no way that they could deliver
on their mission, the ridiculously overlarded mission, protecting the president, plus 40
more people, president's grandchildren, vice president's stepchildren, Cabinet members,
also protecting Super Bowls, and Olympics, and the United Nations General Assembly, and
investigating financial crimes, and cyber-hacking. Congress and the White House, this next administration,
have to make a commitment to give this team the tools they need to deliver on their zero
They can't make a mistake on the most important mission, and they're dedicated
to delivering on it. They risked their careers to tell me these
secrets. I'm just ringing the alarm bell for them. They are afraid of what's going to happen.
And they ask me all the time, are we going to wait for catastrophe, or is somebody going
to do something? AMNA NAWAZ: The book is "Zero Fail: The Rise
and Fall of the Secret Service." The author is Carol Leonnig.
Carol, good to see you. Thanks for being here. CAROL LEONNIG: Thanks so much for the great
questions, Amna. AMNA NAWAZ: Today, the U.S. House moved to
form a commission to examine the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The violent riot resulted in widespread injury,
deaths and damage to the building itself. Our Lisa Desjardins has been reporting on
the debate over a commission and how the shadow of January 6 still looms very large over the
She joins me now. Lisa, good to see you. And let's just start right here with the latest.
You have been covering this all day. Bring us up to speed. What's the latest on the commission
and some of the political battles behind the scenes? LISA DESJARDINS: We have a lot of layers to
the story, but the first one is, what this commission is that the House is now voting
to pass on to the Senate. Let's take a look at how it would work. There
would be five members appointed by each party. There you see five red, five blue for the
Democrats and the Republicans.
The chairman would be appointed by Democrats, chair — vice
chair by Republicans. Now, in order to have subpoena power, to call
witnesses, at least one member of each party would have to agree, and likely a majority.
So, in that way, it's crafted to be a bipartisan effort. But there have been some questions
about it from Republicans today, some senators worried that perhaps staff would be appointed
by Democrats. No, this commission exactly mirrors how the
9/11 Commission handled staff. There would be input from both parties. But, nonetheless,
there has been very sharp opposition from key Republican leaders in Congress, starting
with Kevin McCarthy. He came out with a letter a couple of days
ago saying that he thinks the process has been too political, that he thinks this duplicates
what the Department of Justice is doing with its arrests, and that he also just believes
that this should also be expanded to include other political violence, namely, violence
surrounding protests last summer from the left.
Now, today, Republican Senate Leader Mitch
McConnell also expressed his opposition. That is significant. In order for this commission
to happen, 10 Republicans must sign off. I have to tell you, Amna, I spent a lot of
time talking to people today. And I do think that there are 10 votes possible in the Senate.
The bill may change just a little bit, but it is going to be touch and go for a minute.
It is possible for this to pass the Senate.
AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa, you and I remember that
day so well. I was outside the Capitol Building while the assault was under way. You were
inside, of course. What about with the lawmakers you talk to?
Is there a sense that they are still very much dealing with the fallout of that day? LISA DESJARDINS: I can't convey strongly enough
how raw this still is. It's the word I always use. And I think it's the right one. I want to remind people of what lawmakers
saw that day. When they were talking, when they're thinking about January 6, they're
thinking about moments like this, when they were having to evacuate from the House floor,
also thinking about their staffers, who had to some — in some cases, there you see, barricade
themselves inside offices, as the mob was right behind them, the mob assaulting some
of those office doors.
That's Speaker Pelosi's wing right there. In all, seven deaths are related to this violence,
including two police officers who died by suicide, hundreds injured. One officer lost
his eye. And there's one image that I want to point out in particular, the image of the
House chamber door. That's to the speaker's lobby. That is the area where Ashli Babbitt was shot
as the police were trying to hold off the rioters from getting into the chamber. Amna,
that is the place where many members of the House still enter. They now have to go through
metal detectors because of January 6. They line up behind each other. In that spot, I have seen Democrats who used
to work with Republicans avoid those Republicans, because they know they voted to decertify
What I'm trying to say is that January 6 isn't
just hovering over the Capitol. It is right at eye level. AMNA NAWAZ: What about for how these lawmakers
do their jobs, Lisa? You're describing a really disturbing atmosphere
inside. How does all of this affect their ability to actually govern? LISA DESJARDINS: I want to give an important
example. It is affecting governing. Let's look at these two members of Congress,
Pennsylvania Democrat Madeleine Dean. And then you also see Georgia Republican Buddy
Carter. For a couple of years, these two have worked to co-author a bill that aims to help
opioid addiction crisis. But, this year, Madeleine Dean decided she
could not co-sponsor with Carter because he voted to decertify after the January 6 — he
voted against the election certification.
Once she made that decision known, Carter
then had his own reaction, and organized Republicans to block the very bill that he was sponsoring,
hoped to sponsor, and that would help opioid addiction crisis. It is — it was delayed a week because of
this. We talked to both these members to give you a sense of what's going on here, first
REP. BUDDY CARTER (R-GA): Representative Dean
wanted me to apologize. And, as I said earlier, it'll be a cold day
in hell before I apologize for standing up for my values. Among some people, I don't
think there's any question that the Democrats are trying to keep the January 6 events alive
and trying to stretch it out as long as they can. We need to move forward. We need to get past
that. I condemn what happened on January 6. And, again, I continue to condemn it. But
we have got to get past that. LISA DESJARDINS: And, quickly, here's Madeleine
Dean on what she's feeling right now. REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): It's a struggle,
personally and professionally.
You can see the toxic spillover of those who promoted
the big lie, who allowed the former president to just early on promote disinformation, sow
the seeds of doubt among our electorate that maybe their votes were going to be mishandled,
or somehow they were going to be cheated. LISA DESJARDINS: Amna, there is so much mistrust
at the Capitol, on both sides of the Capitol, between both parties, and it certainly is
affecting almost every issue. Can a commission on January 6 get done? It's
Can the members of the commission trust each other and try and keep it on track
to be something useful? It's something we will certainly be watching. AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa, very quickly, before I let
you go, a commission, if it's formed, what's the hope of what it can do? LISA DESJARDINS: Right. This will be more focused on January 6, is
the idea. But it will be up to commissioners to decide what they do. There is hope that
it will have a definitive account of what happened on January 6.
AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa Desjardins, always good to
see you. Thanks. Now, this week, we have been looking at how
the pandemic affected students, their lives and their learning. And, tonight, before we go, we're going to
hear from teachers. These voices are part of our special report
called "Disrupted: How COVID Changed Education" from the "PBS NewsHour" Student Reporting
Labs. That's our network of high school journalism programs across the country. RYANNE MESCHKAT, Teacher: If I can only think
of one word to describe this year when it comes to teaching, it would be exhaustion,
to be quite honest. MICHAEL KAUFMAN, Teacher: We were trying desperately
to figure out what was going on. We were building the plane while it was flying up in the air
and hoping we weren't crashing and burning. We didn't know how to reach our students.
Students didn't know how to reach us, and yet we were told, somehow, teach them. MICHELLE CORO, Teacher: Tough is a nice way
to put it. It's been frustrating.
It's been annoying. It's been devastating. SARI BETH ROSENBERG, Teacher: This will be
my 19th year of teaching, but, let me tell you, it feels like my first year. LAWRENCE CLARK, Teacher: This pandemic kind
of forced us to adapt kind of on the fly. MICHAEL CONRAD, Teacher: Every day, I never
know how many kids I will have in my room. SARI BETH ROSENBERG: What I have learned… Turn your camera on Thursday. … is that one of the most important, important
tools for teaching remotely is getting in touch with your own vulnerability
and not being scared to share with your students. CHRIS SLOAN, Teacher: Overnight, we had to
switch modes, no more in person, all online.
And it was quickly apparent that not everybody
was joining the class. And I will never forget this moment. A student raises her hand and
says: "We have got each other. Let's not forget that." And so she said: "I will reach out
to so-and-so." Somebody else said: "Oh, I can text this person." And somebody else said: "I could swing by
that person's house." And so, as a small group, I think we did a
good job of looking out for each other. RYANNE MESCHKAT: This year, I really tried
to allow students to tell their own stories. And that's where the breakthroughs came. And
the answers that I got were so thought-provoking for me, as a teacher, and really made me step
back and think about my practice. STU STEIN, Teacher: What do I wish people
outside the classroom understood about this past year-and-a-half? The thing that's missing, the story that's
missing in the national media, the national news is success. These kids have created a
tremendous amount of success in these classrooms.
MAN: We have been pushing ourselves in ways
unlike any other year, and it feels like we're going nowhere, but, at the end of the day,
I really feel like we have gone somewhere. It's just a different space, and we're stronger,
and we're better as a result. MICHAEL CONRAD: The thing that keeps me coming
back every morning are the new ideas, the fresh ideas, that are going to roll into next
year. LAWRENCE CLARK: There are good days and bad
days. And the most important thing is that our kids need us, and we need to be there
for them. So, thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: And you can watch the entire program
on the "NewsHour"'s YouTube page or on the Student Reporting Labs Web site.
And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm
Amna Nawaz. 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..