Secretary Zinke on Texas: America has to stand together
This is a rush transcript from "The Story," August 28, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Breaking tonight, we expect a response any minute now from the White House to the missile launch that happened just a short time ago from North Korea. The president has praised their restraint in recent weeks, but that now appears to be over. There was a missile launch a short time ago from North Korea. The president has praised that, as we have been saying, but apparently, the restraint that they were exhibiting appears to be over.
So, the Pentagon now confirming the projectile launch from the North Korean peninsula, it flew directly over the northern part of Japan. We are also told that residents there were alerted to take cover in what had to have been a terrifying few minutes. That has not happened over Japan in more than eight years. So, what are they up to? The White House is about to respond. We will break in with that news as soon as we get it.
And also, of course, tonight, daylight is waning now on the gulf coast as rescue workers struggle to reach those trapped in their homes before it gets dark. It is a natural disaster of epic proportions, and the images that we have just into Fox News tonight will shock you in their magnitude. The president will see all of this first hand as he heads to the area tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Right now, the single most important thing is the safety and security of those still in harm's way, including the first responders who have been so terrific and brave. Protecting the lives of our people is my highest priority. We are one American family. We hurt together. We struggle together. And believe me, we endure together. We are one family. To the people of Texas and Louisiana, we are 100 percent with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Texas, of course, our lead story tonight. I'm Martha MacCallum. Roughly, the area in Texas that would encompass the land from New York to Boston, is now under water. And one local police chief said that is "worried about with how many bodies they may find as they move through the next 24-48 hours." The rain is biblical in amount. Another 20 inches is expected to be dumped on Texas and also Louisiana now, they brace for what may be headed their way to this point. Rescuers are getting priority the life-and-death situations, leaving many to fend for themselves.
Evacuees quickly filling up the shelters in the city and the surrounding areas. They are fast approaching capacity. We're going to go there in a moment to Houston. Emergency responders calling for more medical volunteers. If you can give any aid and you have skills in that area, they need you. If you have a boat and you can get to the area, they need you with that as well. Look at this before and after picture of the city of Houston. You can see the river, you can see the highways, and now it is all water. National Correspondent, Matt Finn, joins me live in one of the hardest hit areas west of Houston. Matt, good evening to you.
MATT FINN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. Well, that biblical rain is happening right now. And we've seen it for about three days straight. And we have just another devastating, heartbreaking scene to show you here on the western side of Houston. This neighborhood behind me has just seen rapidly rising floodwaters. And we witnessed multiple families get rescued from their homes in boats, like this one behind us. And we have seen dogs, and children, and children who did not have jackets or even shirts on shivering in the rain. And right now, you are probably seeing another rescue happened here in this neighborhood. I want to bring in Angela and Lee. Lee just abandons her home, and Angela is here watching her mother's home. Angela, pretty emotional night for you guys. Talk to me about what's running through your mind right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's just, kind of crazy. I've never seen anything happen like this in this neighborhood. We've lived here. My parents have lived here for, like, 40-something years. I have for about 37. I live in Colorado and I came down to take care of my mom who, luckily, is very well in the hospital in the Med Center. She doesn't have to deal with this. But now, I get stuck with dealing with it.
FINN: And you're preparing to evacuate your mom's house, which is right here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's necessary. The water has been -- it hasn't come up too much in the past couple of hours. So, I'm going to, kind of, keep an eye on it for about the next hour, but then if necessary, I'm going to get out.
FINN: What is running through your mind as you are preparing to abandon a home to rising floodwaters?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just, you know, not a whole lot. Just worried more about what I'm going to have to come home to, or lack thereof, actually. So, yes. It's kind of -- it's scary, but it'll be OK. I mean, it'll work out.
FINN: Angela, thank you very much. I want to introduce you guys to Lee. This woman who's standing out here in the rain for us. Lee, you abandon your home a short while ago.
[19:05:14] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did. And I've been here 23 years, built the house, and just this week got a letter from FEMA that told me how lucky I was to be in a safe place that didn't flood, and that's why my premiums were so low. I can't wait to contact them next week.
FINN: Well, you seem to be in pretty good spirits, considering the situation. What does it feel like to abandon your home? The National Guard told you, you guys, basically, have to get out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they did. And oh, bless them, because they came and picked us up. And you know, this is just amazing that they did this, and they're willing to do this for all of the people in this subdivision.
FINN: Have you ever seen anything like this in Houston?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no. I've never even had a drop of water in my garage and now I have 6 feet of water and a car that's covered up with water.
FINN: You're standing out here without a jacket in the rain. Thank you for being with us, but where do you go from here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a friend not too far away who organized and figure out what to do next. But it will all work out. It will all work out.
FINN: Well, we appreciate your good spirits and we wish you well. Thank you for being out here tonight with us, Lee. Thank you. So, Martha, this is just one of the countless stories across Houston and across Texas. In the past couple of days, we have seen people plucked from the rooftops. We have seen people who have abandoned their homes, like these people here.
We have, you know, seen a family last night, they were walking in the rain. One man was shoeless and they had a pool raft with their dogs on the raft. And we said, what are you guys doing? Where are you going? They said, we don't know, but we've just got to abandon, we've got to get out here.
So, it's heartbreaking to be here. And you know, our meteorologists and our forecasters are saying it's not over. That biblical rain that you just mentioned, it's coming down right now. It's been coming down consistently and it looks like there's just not a lot of relief here in Houston and in many parts of Texas tonight, Martha.
MACCALLUM: You know, it's just stunning. They have -- they're such good sports. It's the only way I can think to put it. In the middle of this devastation, Matt, and you try to picture at home your own house with six feet of water in it. And all of the things, you know, that you accumulate over a lifetime and not to mention animals, and people that are in the wake of all of this. So, we thank them for spending some time with us tonight. And I know you've heard so many of these are stories, Matt. Thank you very much for being with us. We'll get back to you in a little while.
So, in the meantime, the scope of this destruction, reaching beyond Houston, more than 200 miles to the southwest. Harvey made landfall Friday night around Rockport, Texas, with winds topping out at 130 miles an hour. This was the early stages of this whole thing as we watch it slam into the coast. Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold represents the Texans living along that coastline, and he joins us tonight from Corpus Christi. Congressman, we saw you over the weekend soaked to the bone in the middle of all of this. How are you doing there today and what can you tell us about your folks there?
REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD, R-TEXAS: Well, I'll tell you, some of the smaller towns on the outskirts of Corpus Christi like Rockport and Porter Ranch are just devastated. You know, a lot of people who look at the news and they go, oh, they've just picked out the worst possible scene to show on the news. Well, I can tell you, pretty much all of Rockport is the worst possible scene. I was just there with the governor, in everywhere you turn there was just destroyed building after destroyed building.
MACCALLUM: What is your expectation? You know, I mean, the water is still coming at this point. And you think back to Katrina and you think about the fact that over the course of those three days, you know, things that they didn't expect happened. And I know there are areas where they have opened up some of the, you know, the dams to sort of relieve that water a little bit. How confident are you that that kind of situation can't happen where you are?
FARENTHOLD: No, it is happening. The district I represent goes from Corpus Christi up to the far suburbs of Houston, Wharton, Texas, and there is just a lot of water. It's the water that gets you in these storms. The wind comes and it goes, and generally in a short order, but this amount of water is unprecedented. They're saying this is a flood of 1,000 years. So, it is absolutely devastating to Houston. Fortunately, here in Corpus Christi, the rain has stopped and we're getting rebuilt, but some of these towns like Rockport, Porter Ranch, and Port Lavaca, it's going to take years to get rebuilt.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I can see a little bit of sun on the side of your face, which I'm sure feels pretty good compared to the drenching that you all got over the weekend. The spirit of the people in Texas is a just so remarkable. And we hear it in their voices and we see it throughout the course of these stories. We thank you very much for being here tonight. Congressman Farenthold, from the Corpus Christi area, good to see you tonight.
So, we have been hearing very dramatic stories throughout the course of this. Listen to this woman stranded on the roof of her apartment building in Houston with 30 other people, including children. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I lost everything. I have nothing but the clothes on my back. It started yesterday. The water started coming in yesterday. We tried to leave, but there was nowhere for us to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: I mean, this is going to go on for months and years by some estimates. Thousands of people have been rescued. Many more are still out there tonight, trapped. Emergency services are pushed to the breaking point at this point. These elderly people -- look at this picture. I mean, if this doesn't stop you in your tracks, these people are in an assisted living facility, and they're in wheelchairs -- some of them -- with water up beyond their waist. And they posted this picture because they called 911 and weren't getting any attention.
The first responders said that they were addressing other situations first, you know, I guess -- you know, I understand it. But then they saw these pictures, and they did get over there right away to their credit. It was tweeted out by the owner of this facility's son-in-law, I believe. I mean, imagine if this is one of your loved ones living in this facility. And imagine the mold, and the water, and the panic in these people's situations. So, I mean, it's absolutely heartbreaking.
The National Guard arrived, they saved up to 25 people. If there's a picture that's going to stick with you, it is that tonight. And there is a cat or a dog in somebody's container on the top of their bed with water rising up around that as well. So, where do all of these folks go once they have left their homes? A lot of them have gone to the Houston Convention Center, which is now nearing capacity. And what does that remind you of?
Fox News Correspondent, Caroline Shively, joins us with what we hope is not going to turn into the kind of situation that we saw in Katrina. But boy, if they tell you are headed to the convention center, Caroline, I would imagine that you're a little nervous about that.
CAROLINE SHIVELY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Plenty of people are still rolling in, and they are indeed nervous, but they are desperate as well. 4,500 was the last count of folks coming in the doors. The bus is still pouring out. 5,000 is their max capacity. Once they hit that, they'll start turning those buses to other shelters. They'll activate folks who are on standby. They have community centers and smaller places. They'll start sending the people there because we are running out of room here in the convention center.
The volunteers have been rolling in with clothing. People here are coming with just what they have on their back. Some people don't have shoes. This is where they come. The volunteers stack it, and then they get in, and they start getting the clothes that they need. One of those folks is Mia Blunt. You were stuck, you were at home, you had no way of getting out. You'd called 911, right? No answer.
MIA BLUNT, RESIDENT OF HOUSTON, TEXAS: No answer. We couldn't get anybody to come out. And then, some people from where we were staying, they came in and told us that somebody was outside with boat. And so, we flagged him down and we were like, we have kids, we have to get them out. And so, eventually, the police officers came over and they told the guys to take us, and they took us to a hotel down the road, they came and they picked us up.
SHIVELY: And what kind of water? You had to wait and water up?
BLUNT: Water, like, up to your chest. It was pretty bad. Like, I was scared for my kids, and like the elderly people, these people are handicapped, it was so bad.
SHIVELY: You've got a backpack. You have four kids living with you. That's it.
BLUNT: Four kids and a backpack.
SHIVELY: And what do you have? You have a pair of sandal, you have a dress --
BLUNT: I have sandals and a dress. Like, there are people here that really need help. Like, if you can help, help. Please.
SHIVELY: What about these men who just came by, regular Joes. They pop their boat in the water. What do you think?
BLUNT: Angels. That's all I think. Complete angels.
SHIVELY: And I've talked to a lot of scared kids. They don't know how to act but not these kids here. This is Madix and Michaela, and this is Ariana. You told me you want to be a movie star, tell me what you did, were you scared?
ARIANA BLUNT, MIA BLUNT'S DAUGHTER: No.
SHIVELY: Why not?
A. BLUNT: Because it was fun.
SHIVELY: How did you get across the water?
A. BLUNT: By walking.
SHIVELY: And did you worry at all when you were getting in that boat, or you were with your aunt and you were fine?
A. BLUNT: I'm fine.
SHIVELY: And Michaela, how are you doing tonight? You were standing in line getting stuff over there, how is it here?
MICHAELA BLUNT, MIA BLUNT'S DAUGHTER: Good.
SHIVELY: Do you like it? Do you want to spend the night?
M. BLUNT: Kind of.
SHIVELY: You'd rather be home? All right. And Madix is hiding behind mom. So, we'll just peep at you. Mia, you have nothing to get back to. You were renting. And your owners before you left said, sorry, it's it. We're done. We're gone. Where do you go from here? The shelter will close eventually. Where do you go?
BLUNT: Hopefully, we can find temporary housing, or permanent. Like, there's a lot of people in my situation that are here too. Like, we all need help. Like, this is bad.
[19:15:04] SHIVELY: The mayor said he didn't want folks to evacuate. He was afraid people would be stuck on the road. Do you think that was good? If they had said to evacuate, would you have left a couple of days ago?
BLUNT: Honestly, no. Because of what happened previously. Like, people getting stuck on the roads and the dying! It's just -- it was too much of a risk. It was better just to stay put and stay safe.
SHIVELY: Stay put and stay safe -- that is the message tonight. Mia, you go back in there and get what you need. It was wonderful to meet you and you have beautiful kids. Martha, that's the story here at the Convention Center, back to you.
MACCALLUM: Wow! Mia is a champ. It's pretty easy to figure out where those kids get that beautiful smile and that positive attitude. So, boy, they are troopers too. And boy, our hearts go out to them. What a tough situation for these families. But she is weathering it like a champ. So, Caroline, thank you so much. I know we'll be going back to the convention center a lot in the coming days. So, thank you for that. Still ahead tonight this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emotionally, I lost everything. My whole house is underwater. Bottom levy is underwater. The car? Underwater. We lost everything.
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MACCALLUM: Oh my gosh! Just incredible. And you know, this is what the president is going to see firsthand. And as we all know, you know, having covered these kinds of stories, until you get there and see this, you can't really imagine the devastation. So, he will be there tomorrow to check on the recovery efforts straight ahead. So, we're glad that tonight we have Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke with us. He will join us with the administration's take on this, next from Washington.
And we are also learning about an ugly scene in Berkeley this weekend. When violence broke out during what was a peaceful demonstration, one of the women attacked by Antifa is here with her story, and it is incredible. Stick around for that. Also, you've heard this story here, and we bring it to you in depth tonight. The fight that is brewing at a California school where a kindergarten teacher decided that it would probably be a good idea to talk to kindergartners about transgenderism. Parents, some of them, were outraged, and they're afraid to speak out because they're getting so much heat from the other side. But they will do that exclusively here tonight. Stay with us. We will be right back.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said, well, we heard about a pearl in a boy's body.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Nothing can defeat the unbreakable spirit of the people of Texas, and Louisiana. Right now, every American heart sends its love and support to those whose lives have been up and upended, totally up ended, totally by this very horrible storm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Well, that was President Trump speaking earlier today at the White House. The president and first lady will be traveling to Texas tomorrow, and they will get a firsthand look at this devastation that was brought on by Hurricane Harvey, which is still dumping likely another 20 inches of rain on this area, which is an enormous amount on top of what they've already got. Here now with more of the federal government's role in all of this and the recovery process, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Sir, good to have you with us tonight. I know you have a lot on your hands.
RYAN ZINKE, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: Well, great to be with you, Martha. When the president said to bring the full weight of the government, federal government to bear, he was not kidding. All of us are leaning forward. The Department of the Interior is involved like every other secretary, making sure we push assets forward, leaning as forward as we can, push assets for the great state of Texas, and support in any way we can.
MACCALLUM: You know, I heard someone say today and I think it's true that the report card won't be written on this for the federal government for some time. So --
ZINKE: Well, that's right.
MACCALLUM: You know, you would know, obviously, it's getting dark at this point. We don't know how many people are still trapped in those homes. You know, what's the sense of urgency and how are you guys coordinating with the folks on the ground? Because it will reflect on everyone, in the end.
ZINKE: Well, certainly, there is a sense of urgency right now. We're in a, really, saving lives phase, but also as other concerns: some with the dams, the reservoirs are filling up. So, our USGS, U.S. Geological Service teams are on the ground looking at flooding models.
MACCALLUM: Are they confident that those dams are going to hold?
ZINKE: Well, we are. We're taking action. The army corps of engineers, for example, is monitoring that. The releasing of water was necessary, and it's by communication. Folks on the ground need to listen to their local authorities to make sure they communicate and listen and follow directions. But yes, the coordination as well as, you know, the cabinet members get along. We had a meeting yesterday. Clearly, the Chief of Staff, General Kelly, Four Star, giving very clear directions from the president. The president is engaged on this minute by minute. And when he said, again, when he said the full power of the federal government is to bear, lean forward, that's exactly what we're doing.
MACCALLUM: I mean, you think about all of the division that we have seen in this country, and it is very heartening to see what happens in these kinds of environments and that there is a bipartisanship to it, which is, I think, a big relief to a lot of people. But when you go to bed tonight, what's going to be your biggest concern? You know, what's the troubleshooting that you're doing for tomorrow on this?
ZINKE: Well, the floodwaters are still rising. We don't think it's going to stop until the rains maybe on Friday, but peak, probably on Wednesday. So, as bad as it is, there's more to come. And the president was correct, you know, we've got a great grade, you know, upfront, but we're a long way from finishing this. And then the recovery: the federal government with the small business administration has an enormous role to play.
People are watching, but you're right. This is an American issue, and I think, by and large, Americans responded well. We see heroes every day. Law enforcement, search and rescue teams are out there risking their own lives saving. There have been a few thousand-people saved. And this is where the community in America has to come together. It's the same thing on public lands. It's not Republican or Democrat, it's an American experience and America has to stand together with this.
MACCALLUM: Boy, it's stunning when you say that the waters won't peak until Wednesday. So, here we are on Monday evening and there is so much still to come. And we just watched these families and you hear the personal stories of these individuals, it breaks your heart, and there's a lot of hard work to be done still. Ryan Zinke, thank you very much, Secretary, of the Interior. Good luck to you and all of you as you work on this. Thank you for being here.
ZINKE: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So still ahead tonight, the White House heading back at critics who say that the president took advantage of the Hurricane Harvey situation in order to drop quite a bit of news on Friday night. The president said today that he knew that there was no way that that story would ever go under the radar and be expected it would get a lot of attention. So, we'll talk about that. More life pictures, also, from the disaster area as darkness falls on the path of destruction left by Hurricane Harvey. Live report on the ground, we'll go back to Texas with more tonight as you just heard from the interior secretary: the worst is still yet to come. Stay tuned.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been in the water all day since actually last night. And we didn't think help was coming until you guys came, and I thank you so much.
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MACCALLUM: So Hurricane Harvey continues to wreak havoc on Texas, and we will continue to bring you the latest updates from the area. But there is some other news that we want to get to tonight, including this. Some are calling it what happened on Friday evening, the art of the news dump as some major White House headlines, including the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio starting to hit the newswires just hours before Hurricane Harvey struck. The president's critics said that he was using the storm as cover. But Fox News chief national correspondent, Ed Henry, live at the White House tonight where the Trump team told him something quite different from that. Ed, good evening.
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That right, Marth. Good to talk to you. President Trump made clear today he simply does not care if the mainstream media is in hysterics over what went down Friday night. Basically, a news dump of epic proportions. The president, you know, has his critics spending days charging that he use Hurricane Harvey to bury several negative stories late Friday, releasing a memo telling the Pentagon to ban transgender troops, moving closer to ending DACA that protects people brought to America illegally as children and, of course, the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Now the president threw down at a news conference here at the White House today, declaring he was not trying to hide anything, saying he thought the TV ratings would be even higher in the middle of a hurricane. The president relishing the chance to pull a piece of paper from his jacket pocket that detailed some of the more onerous pardons issued by the last two Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as various media personalities are slamming the Arpaio pardon.
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UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the storm though was crashing into Houston and Rockport, the president was pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: As the hurricane was barreling down in the Texas coast, he tossed out three pieces of thick red meat for his base to devour.
TRUMP: President Clinton pardon Marc Rich, who was charged with crimes going back decades. President Obama commuted the sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera, who was charged as part of a violent independence group from Puerto Rico responsible for 28 Chicago area bombings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now there was another controversial announcement Friday that was not so popular with the president's base, Sebastian Gorka pushed out, exiting the White House exactly one week after his ally Steve Bannon was also forced out. Moves that have angered some conservatives. Now while you heard the president pushed back there on the idea he was burying the news. I can tell you some of his advisors were actually boasting about it. One advisor texted me late Friday night, look, a lot of people in the media say that this administration can get anything done. They don't run things smoothly. This advisor, again, all but boasted to me, look, the president just buried 4 or 5 negative stories in one fell swoop. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Ed, thank you very much. So here now with more on that, Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, and Bill Bennett, former education secretary and host of the Bill Bennett podcast, both are Fox News contributors. Welcome to both of you. Good to have you here tonight. Before I let you go, I do want to ask Karl what's going on in Houston, because it's obviously near and dear to his entire situation. So we'll get to that in just a moment. But in terms of this news dump, Karl, your thoughts in the way that was handled from the White House?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRUBUTOR: Well, look, this has become an art form perfected by President Obama of taking news and dumping it out on Friday night so it gets less coverage. I don't know whether this was intentional or not, but the effect is to take 2 or 3 very controversial stories and dump them out late in the afternoon or early in the evening on Friday, and when you've got a big news story that's dominating it. So, yeah, we're spending more time as we should talking about Harvey and less time talking about Sheriff Arpaio or the transgender reversal at the military and so forth. So whether it was intentional or not, it served the purpose of having us pay less attention to these negative items that the president laid out.
MACCALLUM: I mean, the way the news cycles go in this administration, I think, you know, pretty much everything that's one bite at the apple and if there are ten more things a couple of hours later.
MACCALLUM: So I'm not sure that if it really ever gets buried the way this is covered. Bill Bennett, good to have you with us as always tonight. Thanks for being here. You know, I think I want to start with you on your thoughts on the pardoning of Joe Arpaio, because I thought the president's response to that, he was ready for it today, was quite interesting.
BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. Well, I think compared to the ones that the president listed, you know, Arpaio is virtually guiltless, and you can argue this either way. I'm an Arpaio guy. I think he's basically done a very good job. But to compare the pardoning to Arpaio to all of the drug dealers, just to single out one of the examples the president used that Barack Obama pardoned an Oscar Rivera. And on the news cycle, I think you're right. There's two things going on. First of all, you can't really bury it. The stuff is -- have we not heard enough about Joe Arpaio? It's been around, hasn't it? It's been pretty present.
And second, you know, attention span. Attention span vary. And note the tragedy of this catastrophe in Texas, is a many day strategy. So I'm not sure the president wins here no matter what happens. Look, this is a wartime president in a culture war. And no matter what he does, especially if it can be interpreted as bad news or something bad by the media, it will be. There's no winning for him. If you did it on Tuesday, there wouldn't be winning. Remember, you announce that he did it just before the storm hit, suppose he did it after the storm hit? Again, -- up to. A lot of people like about this president is when he hits, he takes a hit. He fights back. He fights.
MACCALLUM: I want to play a couple of sound bites. One of the headlines today with regards to these two sound bites that I'm going to play, one from Secretary of State Tillerson, and one from the Secretary of Defense General Mattis, was that there are cracks in the cabinet. Let's watch these, then we'll go to Karl.
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JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: You are a great example for our country right now. It's got some problems. You know it and I know it. It's got problems that we don't have in the military. You just hold the line, my fine young soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines. Just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it. The power of inspiration, we'll get the power of inspiration back.
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't believe anyone doubt the American people values or the commitment of the American government or the government agencies to advancing those values and defending those values.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: And the president's values?
TILLERSON: The president speaks for himself, Chris.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Are you separating yourself from that, sir?
TILLERSON: I've spoken -- I've made my own comments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Karl, what do you think about that, both of those?
ROVE: Well, first of all, with Mattis going on I think is much ado about nothing. Yeah, our nation is divided and he's telling the military your job is to protect our country and our country will come back together. So I don't put these exactly in the same category. Look, Secretary Tillerson was asked a question by our colleague and friend Chris Wallace. It was a tough question, which is in essence, the question was do you agree with what President Trump said about Charlottesville? And a number of members in the cabinet had found it difficult to defend those remarks publicly or privately. And I think he did about an artful job as he possibly could in trying to stay out of it. Unless you come out and say, I'm either for the president on he said on Charlottesville, and by God, he was right what he said, that's been happening for a long time, and that there was -- that there's bad people on both sides, or you say I disagree with that, you're going to be stuck. And he was trying to be unstuck and artful.
MACCALLUM: Some would say, you know, that maybe Nikki Haley is someone who may be moving into that job, that we might see Tillerson step down. Bill, quick thought on that before I let you guys go?
BENNETT: Yeah, I don't know about it. But Karl could go on about cracks in cabinet. These are nothing compared to what we've seen historically. Even in my own time, they used to think Kemp and I were off of the George Bush reservation, toward H.W. reservation. Look, Donald Trump criticizes his cabinet members. And sometimes they differ in slight ways, as Karl just said from him. He was all over Sessions, Attorney General Sessions, and now he's back in the fold. This is a different kind of president. You have to remember that. Very different.
MACCALLUM: It's a great point. Gentlemen, thank you. And I just want to say that our thoughts and prayers, Karl, are with those friends of yours, and all the people of Texas who've been affected by this. And we'll keep close tabs on you and on them as we move forward. Thank you, Karl, for being here tonight.
ROVE: Thank goodness, we have the governor, we have -- and the leaders we have in Houston. They're doing a terrific job, starting with our governor.
MACCALLUM: Karl, thank you. Thanks a lot. We wish them all well. Bill Bennett, always a pleasure. So coming up here, still ahead tonight, another live update from the ground in Texas, where we had new video coming in that we will show you moments from now. The floodwaters are continuing to rise there, and we are watching the whole situation closely. Also, did you see this? Anarchist take to the street of Berkeley and viciously attack people who were peacefully protesting there by all accounts. We're going to talk to a conservative U.C. Berkeley student who was among the targeted and attacked right after this. Stay with us.
MACCALLUM: So tonight, Texas residents are desperately trying to escape the rising floodwaters there. Fox's Trace Gallagher is in the middle of it, 40 miles north of Houston in Woodland, Texas, with an update for us tonight from the ground. Hi, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Hi, Martha. You know I can tell you that Houston did get a little bit less rain today. They've been saying the outer areas will also get less, but we have seen no signs of this letting up. And you can see for yourself over here late this morning, this parking lot was dry. The cars were also dry. But now, they've got water halfway up. But if you look down here in the interstate, they're about to shut that down. It's a major artery, interstate 45 going into Houston, kind of the unique thing we've saw earlier there. It's half the freeway was flooded and half was not, so you had cars on one side and they were actually launching boats on the other side.
And 20 miles north of us, in Conroe, they're actually evacuating more people now because they're afraid that the San Jacinto river might overflow its banks, which is surprising no one, because all 22 watersheds in and around Houston and Harris County are now overflowing their banks, and all of that water, of course, has to go somewhere. And the fear is that water is going to go back to the gulf of Mexico, and those areas that were flooded a couple of days ago, yesterday, are going to see another surge of water and be flooded again.
Same story on the evacuations, by the way, west of Houston. More evacuations over there. If you haven't heard, Beaumont, Texas, getting nearly 40 inches of rain. And finally, Martha, we should note that there are reports that a family was swept away in their van. That's a local news report. The sheriff's office is still has not confirm that for us, but the Associated Press has now raised the death toll to three. And we should note there are a few people still missing. The rain is still coming down. Martha.
MACCALLUM: Awful. Trace, thank you very much. So tonight to this now, an out-of-control scene in Berkeley, when dozens of black clad anarchists tore through the barricades and assaulted pro-Trump attendees. It was peaceful up until then. U.S. Berkeley Republican Ashton Whitty was in that crowd and she fled the scene when it became violent. Look at these pictures. It's unbelievable. This is in America, folks. She was targeted at a gas station minutes later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: What's up?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: We're real hungry for supremacist. And there's more of us.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You are all racist (BLEEP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Joining me now, Troy Worden, U.C. Berkley student and correspondent for campusreform.org. And Ashton Whitty, Berkley college Republican and target of yesterday's violence. Welcome. Good to have you guys here today. So Ashton, why were you there in the first place and what happened to you?
ASHTON WHITTY, BERKLEY COLLEGE REPUBLICAN: Well, I felt it was my duty as an American to attend this rally and speak from my freedom of speech. I feel like it's something that is being threatened, you know, in America today. And I felt like if I went peacefully and just say what I have to say and have discussions with people, everything would be fine.
MACCALLUM: What did you have to say? What was on your mind?
WHITTY: I was going to discuss anything. I held up a poster that says let's just have a conversation, and I had conversation with many interesting people, both Republican and Democrat. And everything was great until Antifa showed up. Antifa, they came with black masks, they carried weapons, they were pounding people down with their fists and their feet, and I knew I had to get out of there, so I contacted someone I knew who came to the rally. I got out of there by car, we drove down to safety. They asked me what happened. They filmed me. And I looked over and there was a woman on her phone and she's texting and she staring us down. Two minutes later, these guys show up, they start threatening us. They hit the car with some lead pipes. They're cussing at us telling us we're dead men, that there are more of them. I find out then that Antifa actually had several people posted around Berkeley tracking us and telling people our location by social media.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. I mean, it's frightening and we look at the anger on their faces. And the videos of all of this that I've watched today are just pretty incredible. So Troy, who are these people? Are they from the Berkeley campus? I mean, if you look at them and they've got masks over their faces, and they're hiding their identity, and they are slapping people and hitting them with sticks, where are they coming from?
TROY WORDEN, U.C. BERKLEY STUDENT: Well, you know, Martha, I think it's unfortunate that so many news publications have refused to cover this growing and pressing issue. If we look at who are doing these attacks, who are stumping conservatives on the ground and bloodying them, they are mostly nonstudents. They are actually violent gangs coming up from Oakland, conscripted by Antifa, to hunt Republicans in the street. Make no mistake. This is a pressing issue and it needs more coverage. Luckily, campus reform has helped bring the story to life. And people are waking up. If you look at the petition signed by over a quarter million people calling on the federal government to recognize Antifa for what it is, a domestic terrorist organization, you will see that, again, no one is fooled. We know exactly who was doing this.
These antifascist organizations are conscripting violent criminals to basically make it impossible to be a conservative on a liberal campus. It's a sad day when students just to stand up for what they believe in have to face the very real possibility of severe injury or even death. And I just want to call out the mayor of Berkeley and the chancellor of the university, I want to tell them that you should stop telling the police to stand down and protect all Americans regardless of their political ideology.
MACCALLUM: Well, they arrested 13 people, so we are going to keep an eye on it. I would imagine that you guys -- well, at campus reform as well, to see what actually happened to the people who were assaulting individuals out there. Ashton and Troy, thank you very much for being here tonight. Big story. And we'll continue to follow it.
WORDEN: Thank you for having us on.
WHITTY: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So coming up tonight, a close eye, of course, on Texas. The wind and the rain continue there and it is getting dark. We will continue to update you on that situation, which isn't changing at all tonight. It's going to be with us for some time. Also, we told you last week about the fight between a school and parents after kindergartners were taught about being transgender. Tonight, two of the parents who had been hesitant to speak out for fear of retribution want to talk about this, so they will be in disguise and they will speak freely when we come back.
MACCALLUM: It's quite a story. A California community has been thrust into the national spotlight after a teacher taught her kindergartners a lesson about being transgender because one of the young students was transitioning. The lesson upset some parents, who say that they really would've appreciated it a little heads up that this was going to happen in the classroom, and that it left their children upset, some of them, and confused about all of this because they are 5-years-old. For her part, the teacher says that she meant no harm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I will share over and over again how proud I was to come to school. It was never my intention to harm any students, only to support (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So this has caused a sharp divide within this community. My next guest have children at the school, and they're so fearful about retribution in their community for not being OK with this that they have asked us to disguise their faces and their names. For the purpose of this interview, we will call them Marianne and Susan. So Marianne and Susan, welcome. I can't believe that we live in a world where not being OK with this has put you in such a difficult situation that you can't show your face. I think that says a world about what we're talking about here. So Susan, tell everybody what your experience was with your child? She was read a book about transgender, a child in the class was transitioning, wants to be seen as a girl now. What was her reaction when she came home that night?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we were not told about the book or anything by the school. I actually had to interview my 5-year-old about what happened in class because when I asked the teacher she told me that I had to ask my daughter. And so we were still confused about what actually happened, but we did find out that the book, I am Jazz, was read. And so, a couple of nights after, my daughter was taking a bath, and she got up out of the water and her hair was slicked back and she saw a reflection of herself in the drain in the bathtub and she started shaking and crying because she thought that she looked like a boy, and she was like, mommy, I don't want to be a boy, I turned into a boy, mommy, I don't want to be a boy. And it was watching her go through that that I realized that this lesson that was taught to my child was not a lesson about acceptance or love, it was a lesson that caused her to have a lot of fear and confusion, and she was actually taught that she could turn into the opposite sex, and that is what really troubled me. I really wish that I had the opportunity to talk to her about this first. And even the opportunity to opt out and maybe keep her home for the day if they had this discussion.
MACCALLUM: Obviously, you should have that choice. And they should have told the parents. Apparently, the policy is if that they're going to talk about sex, they have to let the parents know. But if they're talking about gender identity, they can hide that from you and not share that with you. So Marianne, your daughter made a grave mistake, you say, of calling this child -- and nobody wishes any ill on this poor child and what they're going through, but she called him by the wrong name, right, and got in trouble?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that is correct. She saw the child on the playground and she said hi to the name that she had -- they've gone to school together the entire last year. And he had had one name for kindergarten, and then he was reintroduced at the end of the school year by a new name, a girl named. And she -- though she's not in his class this year, they saw each other on the playground and she ran up and said hi to him by the name she knows him as. She was reprimanded on the spot. And then later that day, she was actually pulled out of her classroom and sent to the principal's office to discuss what had happened.
MACCALLUM: The school said she was not reprimanded. Student B was not punished or discipline at any way. The student and the principal simply had a conversation, like conversation that would happen. Did she feel that she was reprimanded?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. She and -- I met with the principal following the incident. She again said that she was not reprimanded. She was not punished in any way. I disagree. I mean, I agree that she wasn't formally punished, but to a small child, to get pulled out of class.
MACCALLUM: You feel, oh.
MACCALLUM: . absolutely. I'm almost out of time. Susan, I want to ask you a quick question. What's the response from other parents who don't feel the way that you do? Why are you not allowed to speak up and show your face?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that this is a really polarizing issue and people want to make it about a specific group of people. And that's really not what it's about. It's really about I think any parent would want, the right to know what their children are learning in school, and the right to be notified if topics of anything like sexuality or any other controversial issues are talked about.
MACCALLUM: And, you know, I mean, obviously, the focus in school should be on learning. They should be working on reading and all the things that kindergarten are supposed to work on. And if you want to have these conversation, I would imagine you'd like to have them at home with your children as we all do when you feel like it is age-appropriate. Susan and Marianne.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
MACCALLUM: . thank you both for sharing your story with us tonight. You're brave and you've spoke out. So we'll be following it. Thank you, ladies. So we want to know your stories here at The Story as well, tweet me at Martha MacCallum using the #thestory. We will be back here tomorrow night at 7, and we will see you then. Tucker Carlson is straight ahead.
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