This is a rush transcript from "The Story," July 12, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: Thank you, Chris. You, too. We'll see you, Sunday. Thanks so much.
As Chris was just saying, we are all watching Tropical Storm Barry right now. These are satellite images, they show the magnitude of the situation. Experts are calling it life-threatening for a lot of folks in Louisiana and Mississippi in the hours to come.
Barry is expected to hit land early tomorrow morning. You can see the churn in the ocean in these live shots that we're seeing this evening. That's the Gulf of Mexico right now. The big concern is the rainfall that it will bring and what happens when that hits the already very high Mississippi River.
Now, the big question tonight is can the New Orleans levees handle this? It is the first real test of this kind of influx of water since Hurricane Katrina back in August of 2005. Governor Bel Edwards of Louisiana will join me live in moments with the very latest that he has for us.
Our team coverage begins tonight with Rick Leventhal who is standing by, watching all of this in New Orleans. Good evening, Rick.
RICK LEVENTHAL, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. Conditions not bad right now. Just a light rain falling, really no wind to speak of. But it's an unusual night here on Bourbon Street and here in the French Quarter, because a lot of restaurants and bars have already closed or will be closing very soon because they know conditions will deteriorate rapidly.
And as you mentioned, it's not really about the wind on this storm. It's about the rain and about the potential flooding along that Mississippi River where they have closed more than 200 flood gates in and around the New Orleans area.
This is the first time ever that the river was at flood stage when a hurricane was threatening to hit. The river near 17 feet now, the levees designed to hold back 20 to 25 feet in spots. We did speak to the Army Corps of Engineers the short time ago who tell us that the system has been tested for the past few months because of unusually high amounts of rain and snow over the winter and the spring. So, the rivers been a flood stage for a while and they say they're confident that the gates and the levees will hold.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICKY BOYETT, SPOKESPERSON, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: When you're looking at a storm event, and we've even seen it a little bit on this when things change, and they change rapidly, and that's why we always stress.
This is what we're seeing now, but conditions can't change and residents need to stay alert and key and keep it aware of what is going to happen and what's projected to happen. Rain shouldn't be a huge impact on the elevation of the river itself. But rain is a factor in the interior of the city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVENTHAL: Some 3,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard have been mobilized, they are staging in and around the city of New Orleans and beyond. They're also staging high water rescue vehicles along with food and water and emergency supplies at key locations.
And evacuation orders have been issued and were issued for numerous parishes and low-lying areas and also for Grand Isle where the major roadway in and out. L.A. one, the only way in and out of Grand Isle is under water.
So, not bad here now, Martha. But again, it's expected to get a whole lot worse over the overnight and into tomorrow where they could get 10-20 inches, perhaps, two feet or more in some areas.
MACCALLUM: Yes, this thing is coming in. Rick, thank you very much. Rick Leventhal in New Orleans tonight.
MACCALLUM: Joining me now as promised, Louisiana's governor, John Bel Edwards. Governor, thank you very much. I know you have a lot going on there, so we really appreciate you giving our viewers a bit of an update. What can you tell us this evening about how things look for your -- for your state?
GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS, D-LA: Well, first of all, it's a very serious situation. The storm will come ashore about 7:00 tomorrow morning and the coast of Central Louisiana around Morgan City and Franklin Parish, should be a Category 1 hurricane.
My biggest concern is that we will have citizens who understand that it's a Category 1 and they may not take it as seriously as they should have, because this has always been a rain event predominantly.
And we're going to have 15 to 20 inches of rain across most of Southern Louisiana for about 24 hours. That rain will fall in about 24 hours. And so, we need people to take every precaution to be patient, listen to their local elected officials.
And we're doing everything that we can to posture ourselves with National Guard, State Police, with buses and shelters today, so they will be ready for that. And I will tell you I'm very thankful that President Trump yesterday signed off on a declaration request that I made so that federal assistance is available to us and we're able to coordinate with federal agencies and get movement sooner than would otherwise be the case of essential equipment and personnel for life-saving activities here in Louisiana, and also to protect property.
MACCALLUM: So, talk to me -- you know, everyone obviously thinks back to the worst case scenario, Katrina. And I -- and I believe, correct me if I'm wrong that when that hurricane hit, it was -- it was down to about a Category 2 at that point, right?
EDWARDS: That -- that's right. But, look, the -- I don't believe that Hurricane Katrina is particularly instructive as it relates to this hurricane. The levee system in New Orleans is the strongest that has ever been because of the generous support that we've received from folks all over the country, and billions of dollars have been invested.
We don't believe and yes, I know you just had a report from the Corps of Engineers in New Orleans that the river will overtop the levees and so forth. Two days ago we had a test run in New Orleans with a very heavy downpour in a very short period of time. We know that the pumps are working we know that the electric -- electricity generation is in order.
So, we feel relatively good about New Orleans for this particular storm. But there will be challenges across all of Southern Louisiana when the storm comes onshore tomorrow.
MACCALLUM: Of course, and as Rick Leventhal reported, there been, you know, some tests obviously of the levees because you've had a ton of rain and a ton of weather in that area, and things seem to be in good shape, which of course, is what everybody absolutely wants to hear.
How are you doing with the mandatory evacuations that you put in place? Are people hitting those?
EDWARDS: Yes. The mandatory evacuations have gone well, there are not a whole lot of those. We have some in Southern Lafourche Parish, we have some in Jefferson Parish and low-lying areas. Lower Plaquemines Parish.
And we have many more voluntary evacuations. But I believe the people of Louisiana are taking this seriously. We have a very dedicated local public officials. We actually have more experience than we would like with disasters.
But this is going to be a tough one, and I worry an awful lot about the rain as it falls not as it relates to the Mississippi rivers but all the other rivers that we have across south Louisiana. They are going to fill and swell and cause some real problems over the next couple of days. Even when the rain leaves out tomorrow night or early on Sunday, the rivers are going to continue to track the water from all the tributaries and inner flood stage and pretty high -- highly elevated flood stages for some time to come.
MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, that -- that's a great point, Governor. Because we have seen that scenario before where the main rivers fill up and it gets pushed into some of these outer lying areas and areas that don't even get hit by the hurricane or the storm are the ones that end up having the flooding. So, I know that you are on top of all of this.
EDWARDS: That's right.
MACCALLUM: And we thank you very much for taking a few moments to speak with us tonight. We're going to continue to update everybody throughout the course of the night and into tomorrow, of course.
Governor Edwards, I hope you'll come back and see us again. All the best to you and everybody in Louisiana tonight.
EDWARDS: Thank God, sure will. We appreciate it. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much. Coming up next, emotional battles on Capitol Hill today. Did you see this? As the Trump administration is preparing nationwide raids, targeting thousands of people. This weekend, big clash on both sides of this debate over illegal immigration.
And some Democrats advising illegal immigrants do not open your door when the ICE agents come knocking. Victor Davis Hanson up next with his thoughts tonight.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, D-N.Y.: When these women tell me that they were put into a cell and that their sink was not working, and we tested the sink ourselves, and the sink was not working, and they were told to drink out of a toilet bowl, I believe them.
MACCALLUM: Signs this week that many of her colleagues appear to be growing a bit tired of it all did not stop freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from making a moment today. Demanding to be sworn in despite their clearly being no procedural need for it.
Before testifying at the House Oversight Committee on child separation policy. Watch this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Mr. Chair, I would like to be sworn in.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D-MD: I'm sorry?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I would like to be sworn in.
CUMMINNGS: Oh, all right. We usually don't require a swearing hand up, but do you want to be sworn in?
CUMMIINGS: All right. OK, OK. Do you, you stand up, please. Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, there was that today, and it was very contentious and emotional in there as lawmakers and witnesses tried to get to the bottom of our nation's crisis at the border. Watch.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB, D-MICH.: She's the same age as my son when I heard about it. Mr. Speaker, we do have a crisis at our border. It is one of morality.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: And what was worst about this, Mr. Chairman, was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over these facilities. That children being separated from their parents in front of an American flag.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem frustrated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm extremely frustrated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) I'm not calling on you, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, not. Of course, not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: this is about transparency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are not at the border.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not at the border right now.
REP. JESUS GARCIA, D-ILL.: Have you ever held a deceased child in your arms?
THOMAS HOMAN, CONTRIBUTOR: First of all, your comments are disgusting. I've served my --
GARCIA: I find your comment disgusting as well, sir.
HOMAN: I've served my country -- I've served my country 34 years.
GARCIA: I find your comment disgusting as well.
HOMAN: This is (INAUDIBLE) control. We can fix this, sir. We can fix this. There's three things we can do to fix this. In Congress, if they don't like what ICE and CBP do, then do your job. Fix it.
MACCALLUM: Quite something. Here now Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Case for Trump. Good to have you with us tonight, Victor. What goes through your mind as you listen to that back and forth?
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, SENIOR FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTE: Well, I don't -- I think it's a divorce from reality. We have 20 to 22 million people here that are residing illegally according to the MIT Yale study. And we're discussing deporting or sending back to their home countries, maybe a million. I doubt it would be that much or that many but only those who have already received a summons that they're in violation of federal law.
If we were to do all of that, Martha, that would only be five percent of the people who are here currently living unlawfully and it wouldn't make a dent in the numbers because that many people, that exact number of people one million have already arrived illegally in the first six months of this year.
As far as the hysteria, most of the protocols, not all but most of them that separate children from their parents who go on to court hearings were inaugurated during the Obama administration. And we still haven't deported 365,000 annually, that was the high point in the Obama administration. The Trump administration hasn't done that.
If you look at the people who have tragically died, it's about 10 to 12 in the first two years of the Trump administration, unfortunately, about the same as Obama where 12 -- when 12 people died the last year of his office.
So what is all this about? It's about demography, and politics and the 2020 campaign. But it's not about worrying about actual human beings. If they did, I could think of a lot of out-of-the-box solutions we could -- we could enact right now.
There's 4,000 colleges and universities that have over a million dorm rooms that are open for the next 90 days. How original would that be if we had the American Southwest, the sanctuary community stand up and say please send us these families. We have legal and health resources on campus. We have empty rooms. It would be a fantastic way for a lot of cash-strapped universities to become contractors and be reimbursed by the federal government. We're not interested in that.
MACCALLUM: Yes, you make a great -- you make a great point. There are a lot of facilities around this country and it seems as if that might rob some people of their argument. If there isn't you know, chaos at the border, and if there is an overcrowding which by the way we've known was coming our way for quite some time, there are creative solutions if it was all about making sure that we could find you know, safer, cleaner -- not safer necessarily but you know, just you know, because the Border Patrol says that these are safe conditions, but there are creative ways to solve some of these problems.
I want to play this from the former ICE director when he talked about scenes that have haunted him. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOMAN: I'm the only one in this room has worn a green uniform and been on that line. I'm the only one this room that has found dead aliens on the trail that were abandoned by smugglers, just left them there because they weren't -- they weren't worth any money anymore.
I'm the only one in this room that stood in the back of tractor-trailer surrounded by 19 dead aliens including a five-year-old little boy that suffocated in death in his father's arms. I was there, and I saw, and I smelled it, and it's terrible. And I still -- I still have nightmares to this day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: And when those things were happening, those things are still happening, there were you know, a lot of folks who were in that room today who were -- who were saying that there was no crisis, that it was ridiculous that we were even discussing this.
HANSON: Well, that was only because to solve the crisis, President Trump suggested that he might have to shut down the government and then he did so or that he would have ICE raids on people who had ignored summons. Now that he hasn't done that yet, then all of a sudden there is a crisis.
But we do have another crisis, Martha. We have 600,000 Americans that are living on the streets of mostly progressive cities. I just got back in San Francisco. I went into Fresno, California yesterday. There are people who are eating, and defecating, and sleeping in filth with vermin and it's tragic.
And when Ocascio-Cortez says people are drinking out of toilets, that's unsubstantiated, but my god I wish these people had toilets. They have no toilets. It's something out of the Middle Ages. And yet they're right on the streets of America's major cities and there's 600,000 of them.
HANSON: No one seems to be able to talk about them or to do anything about them.
MACCALLUM: Yes. We --
HANSON: I'm very cynical. I'm almost --
MACCALLUM: Go ahead.
HANSON: I really think we should just say, where is the Mexican government who makes $30 billion a year on remittances? Where are the Latin American governments who make another $30 billion? Where are the ethnic activists that like a constituency? Where is the Democratic Party whose capitalizing on what they feel is changing demographics?
There's a lot of cynicism going on and it's -- I don't think we have to put up with the pontifications of these self-righteous virtue singers because they're not worried about humanity or the real tragedy on in their midst
MACCALLUM: They definitely -- could definitely concern though that the cameras are on when they when -- they want to stand up and emote. But you're right, there are some very practical solutions here that are not necessarily what Congress seems to be coming up with. Victor Davis Hanson, thank you sir. Always good to speak with you. Thank you for being here tonight.
HANSON: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: When we come back, Catherine Herridge on what is really going on. This is so intriguing. What's going on with the Robert Mueller hearing? Is it going to be postponed? Will it ever happen at all?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: They have Mueller go make a speech. That goes. Now they wanted to have him again. They want to go it again and again and again because they want to hurt the president for the election. How many bites at the apple do you get?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That bite at the apple the president is referring to is the public testimony of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller that tonight appears to be in doubt. Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge is here to set the record straight on what we know tonight.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Martha, last night we reported on your broadcast that the hearing may be in trouble and today multiple sources told Fox News the Special Counsel's testimony scheduled for Wednesday was postponed a week after a "breakdown in negotiations." But the Democrats put out this short fake statement that a hearing would go ahead as originally planned.
By all accounts, Robert Mueller remains a reluctant witness who has said he will not go beyond what's already in his report. Delaying his testimony until the 24th could be a tactic to secure more time for lawmakers questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAVID CICILLINE, D-R.I.: It's very important that the American people have the opportunity to hear from Robert Mueller, that he had the opportunity to convey to the American people all the evidence he collected, all which describe the misconduct of the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: The two House committees, Judiciary led by Chairman Jerry Nadler and Intelligence led by Chairman Adam Schiff had allotted two hours for a morning and afternoon session on July 17th. That meant about two dozen lawmakers would not ask questions.
That violates a long-standing practice that says every member gets five minutes to cross-examine the witness. Today there was confusion and disappointment among lawmakers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, D-N.Y.: Every single member of the House Judiciary Committee on a Democratic and Republican side should be able to participate in the hearing.
REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OH: Well, you have to ask Jerry Nadler. I mean, we've been trying to find the format. They got the exact format for weeks now and sounds like we still don't know the exact format.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: If the Mueller hearing goes ahead Republicans could use a number of tactics to run out the clock effectively derailing the Democrats' star witness and a separate closed-door session with Mueller's deputies is also up in the air, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Thanks to Catherine Herridge for that. We are continuing to watch live as this storm moves towards New Orleans. Tropical Storm Barry is just hours from making landfall along the Gulf Coast. And one of the main concerns is flash flooding and river flooding which are expected in areas of South Mississippi. Steve Harrigan is live in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi with the latest this evening. Hi Steve!
STEVE HARRIGAN, CORRESPONDENT: Martha, I really starting to feel it now. Over the last hour, the wind has picked up. We're seeing rain come in sideways. And it's really rain that is going to be the threat for Mississippi more than the wind problem. We're expecting five to 12 inches of rain in Mississippi. That could lead to flash flooding not just along the coast but inland as well.
Already when you drive around, the number of roads are covered by water. There was even an alligator a short distance away from here on one causeway. A truck managed to create a wake to get that alligator back in the marsh but it shows you what could be in the water here.
When you talk to people, are they afraid of what's coming. Many people here who've been through Katrina say no. Instead, they are excited about the first storm of the season.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every time a storm comes in, I get an energetic feeling and just pumps me up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our house is on steel so we're pretty high above there. We're not too worried about it, especially for our tropical storm. I don't think this one's going to turn into a Cat One.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIGAN: We've already seen a number of water rescues today and it's going to be a long night for the fire department here. Martha, back to you.
MACCALLUM: All right, Steve, will be watching. Thank you very much. So racist, fascist, and anti-Semitic with Nazi imagery. Those are the words that are being used to describe this.
MACCALLUM: Unbelievable video captures armed members of the U.S. Coast Guard -- this is just unbelievable. They're jumping onto a narco submarine in the Pacific Ocean. They bust open the hatch and look at this guy. I mean, can you believe -- it's like a movie.
They see a 17,000 pounds of cocaine with an estimated $232 million. The five suspected drug smugglers were taken into custody. Nice work, coast guard.
Remember all that? So, apparently, the new "Lion King" and the old "Lion King" are fascist, racist, and anti-Semitic. The highly anticipated new photo realistic version of the "Lion King" is likely to be one the hottest blockbuster movies of the summer. Every kid is going to want to go see this.
But according to The Washington Post, fans of the beloved Hamlet-esque classic of stage and screen have it all wrong.
They write this. "As nostalgic of "Circle of Life" may make us feel this bombastic scene is also a painful reminder of the film's ideological agenda. It introduces us to a society where the weak have learned to worship at the feet of the strong. With the lion standing in for the ruling class and the good herbivores embodying society's decent law-abiding citizens and the hyenas transparently represent the black, brown, and disabled bodies that are forcibly excluded from this fascist society."
OK. So, let's bring in Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire, host of the Michael Knowles show, and Richard Fowler, nationally syndicated radio host and a Fox News contributor of course.
Gentlemen, I imagine you grew up with this original animated classic. What do you think, Michael? Did you realize that it was all these things?
MICHAEL KNOWLES, HOST, DAILY WIRE: Who knew? I'm actually just so pleased that for the last three years every American slightly to the right of Hillary Clinton has been called a fascist. Now we are in the same company as a beloved Disney cartoon character.
This was the stupidest article I've ever read in The Washington Post, which is truly saying something. It reads like a bad term paper freshman year. The trouble is this was written by a professor and that tells you all you need to know about higher education.
"The Lion King "is a wonderful story, it is about redemption, it is about grace, it is endurance. It is based on Hamlet; it's based on the books of Genesis and Exodus. It is not about fascism but because the left right now has become so culturally illiterate, the only thing that they can ever referred to in their cultural criticism is Hitler. Everything they don't like is Hitlerian, or fascist, or Nazi.
I should also point out, this is a very racist article. They are -- the author compares black people to hyenas. He even at one point implies that black skin is some sort of disability. Obviously, this is absurd. His main contention is that kingdoms in general are fascistic, so I guess this is news to the queen in the United Kingdom, this is news for every children's fairytale or for the books of the bible.
MACCALLUM: I want to --
KNOWLES: If the left wants to go after kingdoms, I welcome it. They go after the American flag, the Fourth of July. Go after the "Lion King," I think it's only going to help the right.
MACCALLUM: All right. Before -- Richard, before I go to you, I want to play another scene, because think a lot of people might be scratching their heads, you know, saying, what is this writer referring to exactly?
So, here is one of the scenes that he is referring to that they claim has Nazi symbolism. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're expected to take sudden beauty (Inaudible). The future is littered with lies, and though I may have received, the points that I must empathize is you won't get a sniff without me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, yes, it's true. He's the evil character and those who are about to follow him are goose-stepping across this part of the Serengeti, Richard. What do you make of all this?
RICHARD FOWLER, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, one, I mean, I think it's disingenuous to compare to lump the whole left into this one particular author. I think this one particular author is, his opinion is very misplaced.
Number one, the setting of this movie is in Africa. Number two, the entire cast from this new particular movie is an all-African -- the majority African-American cast, including the likes of Danny Glover, Beyonce Knowles. And in particular, I mean, Beyonce Knowles might get an EGOT, right, which is the highest price at an actor an artist can ever get for his performance in this particular movie.
So, I think this, I guess, once again, I want to say I think it's disingenuous. Number two, I think the fact that they cast an entire black cast, the fact that these actors and these the voices that they utilize here was impressive, speaks to that.
And so, I think that once again I think this author is misplaced. But I think the mistake that you are making to lump the whole left in with this particular critic is one, problematic, and I think, two, with this disingenuous to say that the entire left feels this way because I don't feel this way, and I think a lot of folks don't feel this way --
FOWLER: -- because they are going to go to see the movie this weekend.
MACCALLUM: Well put. Let me just put one more quote from this up here. I think you guys both agree that you feel like the author of this piece is misguided.
He says, "Doubling down on Disney's historical obsession with patriarchal monarchies, it places the audience's point of view squarely with the autocratic lions whose pride rock literally looks down upon all of society's weaker groups, a kind of Trump tower of the African savanna."
You know, Michael, I mean, it is laughable. Actually. And perhaps his aim was just to get attention, which I guess we, you know, we can cop to having given him in some ways tonight.
But the whole idea that there isn't good and evil, you know, and that there aren't sort of powerful figures in the world, and you know, one of the things they say in the beginning of the movie, the lessons is that life isn't fair. You know, those are sort of, you know, basic, you know, basic tenants of the kinds of stories that kids read and learn, to learn about good and bad in the world.
KNOWLES: Of course. This is a deconstruction of everything that we like and we know to be good and true and beautiful. He doesn't like political order. He doesn't like this lovely story and all of the grace and all of those wonderful things that go along with it.
I of course agree, most leftists I know agree that this is a ridiculous column. But what it does show is a principle that we've seen broadly on the left over the last few years, which is they call everything that they don't like fascist.
And part of the reason this column is so stupid is that he just doesn't seem to understand what fascism is. It's a word that has been defined down to nothing. I suggest we retire it entirely from The Washington Post and from the pop culture.
FOWLER: So, allow me to push back on that just a little bit. So I think one thing that's very interesting about the way I think this author is misguided, is if you take a look at -- if you understand Africa, right, and the history of the continent, and realize the reason why Africa right now is divided the way it is has to do with colonialism at the time.
Prior to colonialism, Africa was very tribal, and in that time, tribe had kings and they had, some of the tribes had queens. They were very -- there were some tribes were very matriarchal, right, and sometimes they're very patriarchal.
So, it depends upon the time. The reason Africa the way it is now has everything to do with western civilization and the fact it was colonialized. So, it's actually quite the opposite of what this author is talking about.
MACCALLUM: All right. Thank you very much. Good input from both of you. Good to see you tonight. Thanks for being here.
KNOWLES: Good to see you.
FOWLER: Good to see.
MACCALLUM: All right, gentlemen.
Coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. ROBERT FOSTER, R-MISS., GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: There are feelings and there are concerned about being discriminated against Donald Trump. My vow that I made to my wife and my belief that I should not be alone with another woman I'm not married to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: We got a lot of reactions from this one, from you at home, and from folks on Twitter. We're going to show you some of it when ladies' night comes up next.
FOSTER: When you have a married man with another woman and they are alone, some people may perceive that there's something taking place and I don't want to give anybody the opportunity to think that there is anything going on that shouldn't be going on.
MACCALLUM: But she was a reporter.
MACCALLUM: You know, this is a professional situation. Does it not concern you that the perception of some people would be that you are discriminating against half of the professional population?
If you'd be comfortable with a male reporter at riding alone with you in a car all day, you know, there are people who might say, what's he doing with that guy? Why doesn't that concern you?
FOSTER: Well, I'm a married man and I made a vow with my wife that I would not be alone with another female and she made the vow that she would never be alone with another male, and that is my personal decision.
MACCALLUM: So that was last night on “The Story.” That was the Mississippi gubernatorial candidate Robert Foster standing by his decision to not allow local reporter Larrison Campbell to cover an all-day campaign event without a male accompanying her that he expected her to bring with her.
We have since been flooded with reaction to this story. One viewer taking the side of Foster -- many viewers did, I should point out saying this. "Not only does he value his reputation, he also showed value in the female reporter's reputation. The Me Too movement has created an atmosphere of caution and you can't fault a man for wanting to respect his marriage vows."
But a few others disagreed. "If Foster is so concerned with his reputation, then what's to prevent a woman and the chaperone she's required to invite from concocting an accusation together. It's his responsibly to protect his reputation and not the woman. Foster's argument is simply flawed" wrote that viewer.
Joining me now for ladies' night, Lisa Boothe, Carley Shimkus, and Jessica Tarlov. Welcome, ladies. Good to see all of you.
LISA BOOTHE, CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Lisa, let me start with you. Whose side are you on?
BOOTHE: I'm on Robert Foster's side and I actually spoke to him earlier today. And look, he's not trying to impose his viewpoint on anyone else. This is a commitment that he and his wife made together that he is honoring.
And I worked on the campaign trail, I've done some of this ride of long - ride along, done a lot of one-on-one interviews with reporters and profile pieces for my former bosses. You don't need 16 hours of unfettered access to do a profile piece on your boss.
Her job was not hindered. And quite honestly, I think he made the right decision by not trusting this reporter, not wanting to give her the access. Because clearly, her motivations aren't good. She has chosen to use this story to elevate her own status.
MACCALLUM: Well, it's also elevating his status.
BOOTHE: Well, I don't even --
MACCALLUM: He's fund-raising off of it and all of that.
BOOTHE: But I don't even think they should not be a news story. personally, I think it's -- quite frankly, it's sort of astonishing that people care this much about it.
MACCALLUM: You don't it -- I think it's a little odd, you know. And I think -- you know, I understand the agreement that he and his wife had. but what he could have done is just said to, you know, one of the -- and I know it's an extremely small staff. But you know, why don't you guys come with me today, right?
BOOTHE; Can I --
MACCALLUM: I didn't mean to make an issue out of it at all.
BOOTHE: Yes. But that's not fair. Because the point of -- so what had happened, is the conversation never even got to that point because she immediately took offense “The Story” run.
MACCALLUM: The chief of staff called --
BOOTHE: And it became a national --
MACCALLUM: The chief of staff said to her we're not going to do this unless you bring someone with you and she's -- that was -- that's how it went.
BOOTHE: Well she was the one that requested the interview.
MACCALLUM: of course.
BOOTHE: But he said, I talk to him today, and he said that he would have been open to the idea of asking a volunteer or campaign staffer which, mind you, he's incredibly small staff. it's really only him and his campaign manager that travel.
He said he would have been open to have inviting someone else from his team to go, you know, to go on the travel right along with him but she never let it get to that point because she made it a national news story, in my opinion, to elevate her own status.
CARLEY SHIMKUS, REPORTER: I disagree to that.
JESSICA TARLOV, CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's ridiculous. He is professionally disenfranchising 51 percent of the population. That's what's going on here. We've talked about this before when we -- the Mike Pence rule.
There is tons of data that shows that women get left behind professionally when men do not mentor, when they don't allow personal communications, when they, you know, close offices. Like, it's after five o'clock, I can't talk to you. I think it's absolutely ludicrous. It also makes some mockery of the Me Too movement to say that a reporter who by the way is openly gay -- can't come --
BOOTHE: How are we supposed to know that?
TARLOV: Well, because she's open --
MACCALLUM: It's irrelevant.
MACCALLUM: But she was not a threat to me in any way. Go ahead.
SHIMKUS: I think if I was this reporter, I would be furious that I couldn't get the opportunity just because I'm a woman, but Foster is not alone in this. Going off of your point, Sheryl Sandberg's organization. Lean In organization, recently released a study and they found that 60 percent of male bosses are uncomfortable mentoring junior level female employees and that's a 32 percent increase from last year.
So, it almost seems like the Me Too is a wonderful thing but the pendulum has almost swung too far in the opposite.
MACCALLUM: I would agree with that. I would agree with that. And I think - - but we also have to be cautious about allowing the Me Too movement to close doors professionally for women because that is -- that could become a bit of a cop-out. It's an easy way for men to say, you know, it's just isn't, you know -- but all the guys, come on in, we're going to talk about this --
BOOTHE: But I've worked in an office -- but I've worked in an office where the individual subscribed to this belief system and never once did I feel like it hindered my career because this was an office where women were elevated and they held the highest positions in the office.
BOOTHE: So, I don't agree with that. I think that this is a commitment that he and his wife made.
MACCALLUM: So, what if this -- what about a female CEO, we have one in our country -- in our company, I should say, who does a fantastic job, needs to have a private conversation with one of her colleagues, right?
TARLOV: So, they're having --
MACCALLUM: So, should she not be able to close the door and speak with her other executives?
BOOTHE: Well that would be her viewpoint. If that's a commitment that she and her husband made, then yes, I would support that. It is not --
SHIMKUS: It just seems so unrealistic though.
BOOTHE: No, it's not. There are plenty of people who do this.
SHIMKUS: To live in a world where if you are married you can't have a one- on-one conversation --
BOOTHE: As you blame from the Me Too era. Look at what happened to President Trump, there's a court case right now where a woman took him to court for battery. If you look at the video, he kissed her on the cheek in public and she said we are going to get you to the White House --
MACCALLUM: So, all professional women have to suffer because --
BOOTHE: They're not --
TARLOV: But it's also making out --
BOOTHE: Vice President Pence's spokesperson is a woman. But wait, she's this public facing aspect of his office.
MACCALLUM: Go ahead, Carley.
SHIMKUS: Professional men are also suffering because of this. Look what happened to Joe Biden --
BOOTHE: No one is suffering.
SHIMKUS: -- where there was headline after headline coming out and some of them where he touched me on the shoulders too long or he hugged me a little bit too closely. And it was headline news. And he was vilified for that. That doesn't seem fair.
TARLOV: It's absolutely not fair but at the same time I presume that Senator Foster got married before the Me Too movement started. So, this rule, which they called the Billy Graham they came up with this before there was this culture of women --
BOOTHE: I don't think --
TARLOV: -- falsely accusing. But the data from the Lean In foundation, what about self-imposed by man. That's not because of an uptick in claims of sexual harassment, it's because men have decided to do this.
SHIMKUS: I would be terrified.
TARLOV: And if you want to be good leaders and if you want to be good mentors, and you want to be a public servant, he wants to be governor of Mississippi and he can't sit in a car with a woman by himself and talk about his campaign?
MACCALLUM: You know what? I just want to say again, because I do understand where he's coming from and I understand that people feel differently about this, and Lisa feels differently about --
MACCALLUM: -- which I absolutely respect. I just think that then it's incumbent upon you if it's your role to say, you know what? Tom, Joe, whatever --
TARLOV: It's in the back seat.
MACCALLUM: -- I need you to come with me today. Just like a (Inaudible) she does when they have someone else come into the room --
MACCALLUM: -- -- which I completely understand --
SHIMKUS: Put the responsibility --
BOOTHE: And the reporter didn't allow it to get to that point in the conversation.
TARLOV: Well, the chief of staff should have let with it then.
MACCALLUM: We're going to continue our conversation.
BOOTHE: We obviously don't agree.
MACCALLUM: We got to go. Thank you very much, ladies. Good to have you with us tonight.
All right. Coming up next, a goodwill story in Southern Arizona discovers a Purple Heart in a box of donated housewares and successfully tracked down the family of the World War II sailor who earned that recognition, a story exclusive next.
MACCALLUM: Dedicated workers at a goodwill store in Tucson Arizona were determined to track down a veteran's family after they came across a Purple Heart medal in a donation bin, and it was engraved with the name Nick D'Amelio, Jr. After some help from social media, that medal was returned to the World War II sailor's family today.
Here now Judith Roman Bucasas, marketing director of Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona, and Lieutenant Doug Hanna, the great grandnephew of Mr. D'Amelio, of Nick D'Amelio. So great to have both of you with us. This is a wonderful story.
DOUG HANNA, NICK D'AMELIO'S GREAT GRANDNEPHEW: Thank you for having us.
MACCALLUM: Judith, how did you, how did -- how was it found and how did you get in touch with the family?
JUDITH ROMAN BUCASAS, MARKETING DIRECTOR, GOODWILL INDUSTRIES: So, one of our store associates, he was going through the donations in our production area in the back. It was found in the box of housewares and he realized what it was.
He did what our staff is trained to do, which is to give it to the manager, and then the manager sends it to our headquarters in Tucson. Actually, came back from vacation to find on it my desk. And I'm like, OK, let's get the ball rolling, we really need to get this back to the family as soon as possible.
MACCALLUM: That is fantastic. And Doug, what was it like when you got this news, what was your family's reaction, and when you saw it how did you feel?
HANNA: We were, I mean, really shocked. We thought that it was safe at the house. Did not realize that it made its way into a box that ultimately made its way over to Goodwill.
MACCALLUM: So, tell me a little bit about Nick D'Amelio, Jr. and his service in World War II.
HANNA: My great uncle Nick, he was in the navy. He was my grandmother's brother. And they were -- my grandmother was only about 10 years old when he had -- when he was killed in action. Ultimately missing in action during World War II. He served on the USS Little, which came under attack off the Solomon Islands.
MACCALLUM: Yes. It was his ship was sunk according to what we have, off of Guadalcanal, which was one of the fiercest battles in the South Pacific.
MACCALLUM: And you know, your family continues to serve. You have his great-great grandniece is about to enter the armed forces, right?
HANNA: Yes. You know, our family is committed to tradition, long-standing tradition of service to country and the community. My daughter, which is his great-great grandniece, is took the oath and is about to serve in the U.S. military to keep this country -- keep America great.
MACCALLUM: Good for you. We are grateful to your family for the service. Judith, good work by everyone at Goodwill, and it's so great to hear that this is your procedure when you find something like this to make sure that it finds its rightful owners. So, thank you so much for all that you do as well.
Good to see both of you tonight. Thank you for being here, all of the best.
BUCASAS: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So that is -- our thanks to them. That is “The Story” on this Friday, July 12. You can follow me at Instagram at Martha MacCallum or Twitter at Martha MacCallum. I would love to hear from you about this show or any other or what you'd like to see on the show. Let us know what your thoughts are. Also, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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