On this "Face the Nation" broadcast, moderated by Margaret Brennan:
- Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken
- Rep. Nancy Mace, Republican of South Carolina
- Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams
- Democratic Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker
- 2024 GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina
Clickto browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."
FACE THE NATION
October 8, 2023
MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm Margaret Brennan.
And this week on Face the Nation: Israel declares war, after Hamas stages a stunning assault by land, air and sea. Now there's growing fear the conflict is expanding.
Overnight, Gaza hammered by Israel with airstrikes. Hundreds are dead. Thousands of Israelis and Palestinians are wounded. Why were warning signs missed? We will hear from Israel's ambassador to the United States Michael Horowitz and from Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Then: After the stunning ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, can the Republican-led Congress pull itself together and get back to work? We will check in with South Carolina Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace, one of the eight Republicans who voted to topple their speaker.
And a growing chorus of Democrats warn that the migrant crisis is spiraling out of control. We will hear from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who is fresh off a tour of Latin America.
Plus, South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott joins us to discuss his bid for the White House.
It's all just ahead on Face the Nation.
And welcome to Face the Nation.
It has been a stunning week in Washington and overseas. Congress no longer has a speaker of the House. Kevin McCarthy was ousted just days after appearing on this program. It is the first time in U.S. history that the House ejected its leader.
In the Middle East this morning, the war may be expanding amid an exchange of strikes between Israel and Hezbollah, as that militant group enters the conflict. The number of Israelis and Palestinians killed could exceed 900. And we have learned several Americans are among the dead. It is unclear how many.
For the latest, we begin with CBS' Holly Williams in Tel Aviv.
HOLLY WILLIAMS (voice-over): The masked gunmen broke through the fence that Israel uses to contain Palestinians in Gaza.
The militants, designated as terrorists by the U.S., fired waves of rockets into Israel and arrived by sea and even in paragliders. It was a complex and coordinated attack. What followed was a frenzied bloodletting.
This Israeli soldier was apparently lynched on camera. Civilians were slaughtered on the highways and in the towns of Southern Israel. And Hamas also took Israeli hostages, including women, children and the elderly. They paraded some of them through the streets of Gaza, along with their other trophies, captured Israeli military vehicles.
According to Israeli media, around 750 people are missing.
(ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
HOLLY WILLIAMS: "What happened today has never been seen in Israel," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We will destroy them, and we will take mighty vengeance."
Israel's already targeted the Gaza Strip with hundreds of airstrikes, demolishing this 14-story building that it says was used by Hamas. But many here are demanding to know how Israeli intelligence failed to detect the planning for such a massive assault. It came almost 50 years to the day after the beginning of the Yom Kippur War.
And there are echoes of that conflict, when Israel was also attacked by surprise.
HOLLY WILLIAMS: Prime Minister Netanyahu has warned Palestinian residents to leave the Gaza Strip.
But, Margaret, as we know, they are unable to do that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Our Holly Williams from Israel.
We're joined now by the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog.
Mr. Ambassador, first, I want to offer you our condolences.
MICHAEL HERZOG (Israeli Ambassador to the United States): Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We know that your prime minister is promising a sustained campaign.
Do you have any sense of how Israel will define success?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: Well, Israel is at war.
Yesterday, we were attacked by a terror organization. They infiltrated Israeli territory and killed hundreds of Israelis. At least 600 were butchered yesterday, including whole families, elderly, women, children.
Babies were taken out of their mothers' laps and murdered. This is war, and we have to fight that war and win it. We have to destroy the Hamas war machine. You know, in war -- back in war. We have to fight it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How is it that Hamas managed to take Israeli Defense Forces by surprise? Did they shut down communications?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: Well, it was a surprise attack.
There was definitely an element of surprise. But I think we'll have enough time to investigate that once we conclude that war in victory.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You said you want to destroy the Hamas war machine.
Hamas is armed and funded by Iran. The Biden administration says they don't have evidence that Iran was linked to this particular attack. Does Israel have evidence they were?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: Well, we suspect Iranian hands behind the scenes. As you know, Hamas and Iran are closely tied.
Iran provides material support, funding, weapons to Hamas. They are tied in what they call the axis of resistance, of course, resistance to the existence of the state of Israel. They are part of the same coalition. So, as far as we are concerned, this is an Iranian-led coalition. And we suspect that Iran is involved.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Does that mean Israel will take the fight to Iran?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: I'm not going to say what exactly Israel is going to do. But I will just say that, whoever strikes Israel, we'll strike back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Sir, this is just stunning to see what has happened in the past few hours. But there are questions within Israel, as you know about how such a strong military was taken by surprise.
There has been a massive expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank area, and, with that, a buildup of forces to protect them. The former Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk has publicly raised the question of whether that's why the border towns over and around Gaza were left unprotected.
Were they? Was that a factor?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: Well, I don't buy that argument.
I think that analogy is irrelevant to the current situation. Yes, it was a surprise attack, but I don't think it has much to do with the fact that the IDF was preoccupied in the West Bank. They prepared a surprise attack. They breached the border fence. They came with paragliders and through the sea.
And, as I said, there will be sufficient time after the war to investigate what exactly happened. Right now, we are at war. And we have to fight that war and win it. We are attacked by a terror organization funded by Iran. And that's where we are right now.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you have said that perhaps Hamas miscalculated by looking at all the domestic problems Israel has within its own politics right now. Do you...
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: Absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think that that was actually, though, a factor when it comes to military readiness? Did it leave your forces vulnerable?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: They may have -- maybe they were under the impression that, given the internal debate in Israel, that Israel is weakened, so that they can provoke us.
If they thought so, I think they're definitely mistaken. You have to know Israelis to understand that, when Israel is under attack, Israelis close ranks and they fight together. And there is no opposition coalition right now in Israel. There's no debate.
All reservists are volunteering. We -- our embassy is flooded with phone calls from people who want to go back to Israel and fight Hamas. So in that sense, I think it was a gross miscalculation on their part.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But did it impact readiness? Because there were concerns of your reservists having objections, political objections, and refusing to serve.
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: It did not impact -- no, it did not impact readiness.
I think Israel is strong. As I said, Israelis are closing ranks right now, and we will fight back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: In -- back in 2006, you had a soldier taken captive and held in Gaza. It took over five years to get him back. And Israel did so in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
At what cost is Israel prepared to get these new hostages out?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: I think it's premature to discuss that.
And I think we -- we were just attacked yesterday.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: We understand that there are probably dozens of kidnapped Israelis and others in the hands of Hamas. We'll have to deal with it in due time.
The whole issue of hostages is a very sensitive issue. I think you know it from your situation, the U.S., and we -- we've had experience in that in the past. It's a very complicated situation. But I think it's premature to discuss any deals or prices or whatever. Right now, we are at war.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Are there Americans among those hostages?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: I understand there are, but I don't have details.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You don't know the numbers or ability to retain them?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: No.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What is it that Israel and your prime minister is asking of the American president right now?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: So, it was a very good phone call between President Biden and our prime minister yesterday.
The U.S. administration sounded a very strong voice of support for Israel from the nation for the terror attack and support for Israel's right to self-defense. We are in discussions with the administration about the situation and about our needs.
I want to take the opportunity to thank the administration for the solid support of Israel and its rights to self-defense.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And before I let you go, how is Israel going to allow some of those Palestinian civilians who are trapped within Gaza to escape, so that they aren't victims of these strikes?
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: Well, the fact of the matter is that Hamas uses civilians as human shields.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: Unlike Israel -- we use our weapons to defend our population. They use a population to hide the weapons behind them.
So it's a very unfortunate situation. We cannot allow terrorists impunity just because they hide behind civilian population. We give the civilian population -- population due notice and warnings before we strike -- strike any military target, and we will continue to do so.
And to the extent that the population of Gaza is suffering, I think the address for this question is Hamas.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Ambassador, thank you for your time, and our condolences once again.
AMBASSADOR MICHAEL HERZOG: Thank you very much, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who joins us from the State Department here in Washington.
Good to have you with us, Mr. Secretary.
I know you have been working...
ANTONY BLINKEN (U.S. Secretary of State): Thanks, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: ... straight through on this.
Can you answer the question yet of whether the Hamas assault is over? Are there more attacks to come?
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: The assault isn't over. There continue to be -- to be very active fighting around Gaza. At the same time, we've seen more quiet in other parts of Israel, but there is intense fighting going on.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And what about Americans? There are a lot throughout the region. How many Americans are among the hostages and among the dead?
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: So, Margaret, we've got reports that several Americans are among the dead. We're working very actively to verify those reports.
At the same time, the reports of Americans being taken hostage, there, too, we're working to get the facts and to find out if those reports are accurate.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you don't know if there are hostages or not?
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: We can't confirm -- we can't confirm that in this moment. But we're very actively working to see if we can confirm the reports that we've had.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Has the United States asked Israel not to strike Iran?
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: We -- the only things we've said to Israel are that we're here. We've got your back. We want to make sure that you have the support that you need. We want to make sure that you have the assistance that you need.
At the same time, I was on the phone yesterday, and many others were on the phones yesterday with counterparts from Egypt, from Saudi Arabia, from Jordan, from Qatar, from the United Arab Emirates, from Turkey, Lebanon, and many European countries as well to make sure that, first of all, people have heard very clearly what the president said about others and other places not taking advantage of the situation, and to use the influence that they have with different groups to make sure that -- that they don't do that, precisely so that we don't have a broadening of this conflict to -- to other places.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But the door is open for Israel to expand this, to take the fight to potentially sponsors of Hamas, like Iran?
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: Is -- Israel is focused entirely on Gaza and on securing its citizens, a number of whom remain under direct threat right now in Israel proper and, as I said, trying to do what's necessary to have accountability and to make sure that this doesn't happen again.
That is Israel's focus.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there a sense that this was an attempt to take advantage of the West's focus on Ukraine?
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: No, I don't see -- I don't see that.
I think, look, we don't -- we'll have to see, as we learn more what the -- what the motivations were and what they are. But here's one thing that's -- that's clear. We've been actively working on trying to help Israel and Saudi Arabia normalize their relations, as well as Israel broadening its relationships with many other countries in the region and beyond, very hard work, and not clear that we could get there.
But, if we could, it would really change the prospects of the entire region far into the future. Now, who's opposed to that? Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran. So, I think that speaks volumes.
And there really two paths before the region. There's the path of greater integration, greater stability, including, critically, making sure that Israelis and Palestinians resolve their differences.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: Or there's the path of terror that Hamas is engaged on that has not improved the lives of a single person. On the contrary, it's destroyed lives, including Palestinian lives.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But -- but let me press you on that, because you're suggesting this may have been a strategic choice.
But then I look at conditions having been deteriorating for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza for a while now, the right-wing coalition in Israel. In fact, the CIA director, Bill Burns, has publicly warned of his concern and U.S. intelligence concern about the risk of instability in this region. Jordan's king has been warning about the risk of extremism.
Did the Netanyahu government underestimate that risk? Why were they so vulnerable?
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: Well, first, let's be absolutely clear that there is no equivalence between the differences that exist between Israelis and Palestinians and the actions of the Israeli government in that regard and these absolutely heinous acts of terrorism that we've seen directed at Israeli men, women and children, none.
Now, we have been concerned about the risks of instability for -- for many, many months between Israelis and Palestinians. We've said from day one that, even as we're working toward normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, that can't be a substitute for resolving the differences between Israelis and Palestinians.
We think the best way to resolve it...
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: ... remains a two-state solution and one that assures that Palestinians and Israelis alike know equal measures of democracy of opportunity, of dignity in their lives. That's why we've been very focused on -- on that track as well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. But that has not been a priority between the parties themselves, but -- as you know.
Gaza -- and I'm explaining this to our audience, because I know you know how concentrated the population is within such a small area. And every time we have a conflict like this, it raises the question of what the humanitarian impact will be.
If this is a prolonged attack, what kind of humanitarian crisis are you expecting here and impact on civilians?
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: Well, we've seen this, unfortunately, repeat itself, although the magnitude, the scale of what Hamas did here is something we haven't seen before, but in -- in prior instances.
Those who have suffered, along with the victims of terrorism, are civilians, including in Gaza. And whatever Israel does in Gaza, as always, we look to it to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, something, of course, that Hamas doesn't do.
On the contrary, not only does it not seek to avoid them. It deliberately targets civilians.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: It's gunning down Israelis in the streets, in their homes, and, as I said, dragging them across the border in Gaza.
So there's absolutely no -- no comparison. But we look to Israel, as always, to apply the highest standards when it comes to avoiding civilian casualties of anything it may do in Gaza.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mr. Secretary, thank you for your time this morning.
SECRETARY ANTONY BLINKEN: Thanks, Margaret. Good to be with you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Face the Nation will be back in one minute. Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Last week, eight House Republicans, joined by a unified Democratic caucus, voted to reject Congressman Kevin McCarthy from the position of speaker of the House, a historic first.
One of those Republicans, Representative Nancy Mace, joins us this morning from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
Good to have you back with us.
Let's go straight to the news. You had said to "The Wall Street Journal" the reason you voted down McCarthy was because promises you were made were not kept. You've been working very hard on very specific issues for a very long time. "When you shake a hand, make a promise, you ought to keep it.
What specific promise did he fail to follow through on?
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE (R-South Carolina): Well, first of all, he made a promise to our country that he would follow the law and present a budget in 12 spending bills.
There's a law from 1974, the Budget Impact and Control Act, that says we were supposed to do that. But Congress always manufactures an emergency every year, like they don't know that September 30 exists. And they skirt the law with C.R.s.
Number one, I want a speaker who will keep their word and who will get the job done. Secondarily, I was very public about working on many different issues, whether it was trying to get a balanced budget amendment on the floor, working through the Ethics Committee to come up with a process when we are trying to get people off of committee that they are allowed due process, that it's vetted via the Ethics Committee.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: I have been working on women's issues. I have been working on gun violence issues in our communities, and I had his pledge of support on many of those things.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: But this is bigger than just me and him. This is about the future of our country and mortgaging our kids' future, and I'm unwilling to do that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
Well, on the -- the balanced budget amendment was introduced by you September 18, very recently. Your rape kit backlog bill, an important one, moved through Judiciary Committee fairly swiftly at the end of September. And they already were in process of voting through those appropriations bills, as you know.
And, in fact, vote -- voting could happen now, except there's no Speaker. So, we're stuck.
What was it that flipped the switch?
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: Well, again, for me, it's someone that will keep their promises, that will keep their word and not keeping -- not kicking the can down the road.
And it was a matter of trust, not just for me, but there were other members in our conference. There were members on both sides of the aisle. And it's very important that, when we make a promise to the American people, we really ought to keep it.
And I have been back home in South Carolina the last couple of days since we recess and adjourned. And I heard from a lot of people. And it was a lot of: "Thank you for your vote on Tuesday. Thank you for your position on abortion. We support you."
We've got to stand up for the people of our country, I'm going to stand up against the folks in Washington that want to do the same thing we've always done.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: But, again, when we make promises to our country...
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well...
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: ... we ought to keep them.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, what...
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: And I'm excited about the prospects of the speakers next week.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's what I want to ask you about.
So, what fulfillment of those promises is required for you? I mean, is that what you're asking of Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise, the two candidates?
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: I have spoken with both of those gentlemen.
I think they will -- they would both be great leaders. And my bar for the next speaker is to -- is to commit to the promises that the former Speaker made to our country, and to get the job done, and to be productive. We have a lot of work that we have to do. We have a very short window of time to do it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: Put us to work, and let's fulfill the promises that we kept -- that we made to the American people. That's it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How quickly can this get done?
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: Let's get...
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there any unity?
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY MACE: I think it -- it can get done very quickly.
I think there can be in the next couple of days. I believe we need to be swift with it. I have spoken to both of them. They are committed to bringing our party together and unifying and not continuing the division that we have. And that's what we need to do. I think it's a great opportunity, could be cathartic for the party and could be very positive next week.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I have to take a break and continue this conversation on the other side of it with you.
Stay with us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: If you miss an episode of Face the Nation, you can find it all on YouTube and our Web site.
We will be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back with South Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Mace, plus the migrant crisis, with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION.
Let's continue our conversation now with South Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Mace.
We were talking about the two candidates for speaker who have put themselves forward. You voted to certify the 2020 election. Steve Scalise did not. By CBS standards that makes him an election denier. Is that disqualifying for you?
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): Well, they're -- with both of the candidates there are going to be issues that we agree on and disagree on. That's the way it would be with any speaker.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's a pretty big one.
NANCY MACE: Well, with any speaker. But I will tell you today, I am going to be supporting Jim Jordan for speaker for a number of reasons. I think that his values, his work ethic, his ability to just run circles around everyone with regards to policy and pushing forward. We've been one of the least productive congresses inside of 30 years, and he's going to be a workhorse for our country. And I'm really looking forward to rolling up our sleeves this week, no matter how this shakes out, and working hard for the American people because we've got to stand up for the people, we've got to put the American people first and move this country forward and do it in a positive way. And I think he's going to bring that to the table.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, let me ask you about Jim Jordan because former Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who, as you know, was one of the lead investigators on the January 6th Committee, warned Republicans against making him speaker of the House.
LIZ CHENEY (Former Republican Congresswoman from Wyoming): Jim Jordan knew more about what Donald Trump had planned for January 6th than any other member of the House of Representatives. And if the Republicans decide that Jim Jordan should be the speaker of the House, there would no longer be any possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans could be counted on to defend the Constitution.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That is a chilling statement. Does it give you any pause?
NANCY MACE: Well, again, there are going to be all sorts of issues that we agree on and disagree on. And also in terms of January 6th, the Electoral College, et cetera, I was one of the most vocal members of our party that day, and the days and weeks beyond that. I got primaried because of my vote to certify, because I spoke out.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
NANCY MACE: And so, you know, we have to look forward and unite and come together regardless of what has happened in the past. We have to be forward thinking and look to the future to bring the party together, bring the people together and let the American people know that we care and we're going to work and fight hard for them.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I know you've been outspoken about defending victims of sexual assault. Do the past allegations against Jim Jordan that he turned a blind eye to sexual abuse give you reservations?
NANCY MACE: I – yes, I'm not familiar or aware with that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you square that?
NANCY MACE: I -- he's not indicted on anything that I'm aware of. And so I don't – I don't know anything and can't speak to that.
But I will say that I had been, as you say, Margaret, a very --
MARGARET BRENNAN: It's The Ohio State University allegations.
NANCY MACE: Yes, I don't – I don't know anything and I – I don't know anything about that.
What I do know is that I've been a very strong voice for women. I've talked to Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise about that. I've been a very strong advocate for rape victims. As you mentioned earlier, the Judiciary Committee as -- with him as chairman recently passed a rape kit bill that Barbara Lee and I are working on. And those are the facts and the data that I have to work with. And I've had a very positive experience with him in that regard.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You mentioned, among the things you wanted promises on from McCarthy, the Ethics Committee was something you said was also a priority for you.
Matt Gaetz, on this program you've called him a fraud. McCarthy said his ouster is personal payback from Gaetz for the House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct on -- that Gaetz is accused of carrying out.
Does that bother you?
NANCY MACE: Well, I don't -- again, he's not indicted for anything. I don't really -- I don't know much about it. And I have had my ups and –
MARGARET BRENNAN: It's an Ethics Committee.
NANCY MACE: Yes, I've had my ups and downs. And I'm not on the Ethics Committee. And I don't – I don't know what they have. I haven't seen it. But I've had my ups and downs with a lot of members in Congress because as an independent voice I will call the balls and strikes, regardless of the consequences, regardless of the backlash. I think that's very apparent after the last five days or so.
But, again, nothing has come out of the ethics committee. I also heard in the last couple of days in terms of the retribution against Matt Gaetz, they were going to pull something out of Ethics Committee to get him back. They're -- I'm being threatened to be thrown off of my committees. I'm being threatened to be thrown out of the conference. They're threatening to take my gavel away on Oversight.
MARGARET BRENNAN: By who?
NANCY MACE: There's just a lot of – by fellow members. I mean there was a letter signed on Friday. And so I want to use this as an opportunity to say, I'm willing to work with anyone who's willing to work with me. We want to move our country forward and unite during the speaker debate and the vote this week.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Nancy Mace, thank you for your time today.
We'll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mayor Eric Adams is back in New York City this morning after a trip through Mexico and Central America where he delivered a message, his city cannot handle more migrants, and he needs more help from the federal government.
Mayor Adams joins us from New York.
Good morning to you, sir.
ERIC ADAMS (Democratic Mayor of New York City): Good morning.
And if I can, I at the start of the broadcast, I just want to – I landed this morning, and I am pained over the horrific attacks in Israel. My heart goes out to the Israeli people. We have the largest Jewish population outside of Tel Aviv here in the city. And I'm -- it's really horrifying to look at some of the images. And, again, I'm lifting them up in my prayers this morning, as well as the other New Yorkers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I saw your governor condemned a protest that's supposed to be held in Times Square. That's described as in support of the perpetrators of the attack. Is that going to take place and, security wise, are you concerned?
ERIC ADAMS: I was briefed this morning with the elected officials, and I communicated while I was abroad with my police leaders to make sure that we will monitor the protests here in the city. One has the right to protest, even if I strongly disagree with any form of celebrating such a horrific incident like this. But we are going to monitor to make sure that people do it in peaceful way. There are going to be, I'm sure, pro-Israel, pro-organizers as well, and we're going to make sure that people abide by the law.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about this trip you just took throughout Central America. And you went to the Dairien Gap, that – that transit point between North and South America. Why did you make this visit, and what did you learn?
ERIC ADAMS: It was extremely important. And, you know, this is my style of governing. You know, people know I go to the crime scenes when victims of police violence. I'm going to go when there's a horrific fire on the ground.
We cannot stay in the sterilized environments of our executive chambers while there are real things happening on the ground. And ground zero is what's taking place in this region, in this hemisphere, what's happening in Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. And I needed to see firsthand of why are we seeing the flow and speak with the leaders there to see exactly what was taking place. And it was an eye-opener for me of – just to learn that over 21 percent of those who are going through the Dairien Gap, they are children.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
ERIC ADAMS: This is a children crisis that we are facing and I wanted to communicate with their local CBOs, local elected leaderships there, and the local citizen and residents to learn from them, but also to send a clear message on their medias, New York is out of room. And we need to communicate that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You've said this will destroy New York City.
We had your governor on last Sunday and she said the border's too open. She called for a change to asylum laws. Is that something you're calling for too?
ERIC ADAMS: Yes. And I want to thank the governor because we see what's happening to this city. And when you look at the flow, think about this for a moment, 375,000 migrants, asylum seekers, went through the Dairien Gap this year. That's 100,000 more than last year, 200,000 more than 2021. Of just this -- the first -- the last week of September, we had over 3,700 asylum seekers that came to New York City. That's an increase – we were getting 600 a week, which was unsustainable.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
ERIC ADAMS: And now we're up to getting anywhere from eight -- almost 800 a week. These numbers are not sustainable and it's not sustainable in Chicago, where people are living in police precincts, Los Angeles, Houston, Washington. This is just not right what is taking place.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You are asking the courts in New York to suspend right to shelter rule, which requires emergency housing to be provided. What's your plan to prevent that from contributing to more homelessness?
ERIC ADAMS: Well, our legal team is not asking for a suspension. We want clarification. This is a humanitarian crisis that we are facing. This is not what the architects of right to shelter thought about when you were dealing with those New Yorkers who needed shelter. We can't have a rule that one can come from anywhere on the globe and come to New York City and remain in New York City as longs as they want and taxpayers must pick up the cost.
This is a $5 billion price tag this fiscal year, $12 billion over three years. That money is coming from somewhere. It's unfair to the migrant seekers and asylum seekers and it's also unfair to everyday taxpayers in New York, New Yorkers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
ERIC ADAMS: And so we want clarification coming from the courts.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You had called on the Biden administration to grant temporary protection, which they did, to some Venezuelans so they could work, so they could get out of the shelters. And there are a large number of Venezuelan migrants I know in the city.
The governor of Illinois, who's about to join us, says that many of these people can't even afford to apply, and they need the federal government to waive fees. Has the Biden administration understood the problem that it says it's trying to solve? Like, what do they need to do?
ERIC ADAMS: You know, one of the most troubling aspects of this conversation, as people regulated this to just a Mayor Adams and the president's conversation. We need to really wake up. This is a global crisis of movements of human beings for several different reasons, based on which country you're looking at. And we need to reexamine not only our long-term immigration policies, but how do we allow people on a pathway of being self-sustaining.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
ERIC ADAMS: The only reason we are who we are as a country is because people had the right to work. I keep saying, that's the precursor to sleep that allows you to experience the American dream.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
ERIC ADAMS: Not being able to be self-sustaining, pay into the tax base of all groups, not only just the Venezuelans, the rule and policy that was put in place would impact, we believe, 15,000 to 17,000 in that area.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. Yes.
ERIC ADAMS: But we have people coming from west Africa, South America, Central America, China, all over the globe is coming to this hemisphere.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
ERIC ADAMS: And we need to be prepared with the right policies to get this done correctly.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. And we're going to continue this conversation Mr. Mayor, with our next guest. So, thank you for giving us your view.
The Democratic Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, has many of the same concerns, and he's joining us this morning from Chicago.
Governor, thank you for joining us.
Of course, we should say, in order to do many of the things you and the mayor are asking for, we need a Congress to legislate. And to legislate you need a speaker of the House. And we are stuck.
So, at the moment, though, I want to understand what it is that you are asking President Biden to do? Because you had a pretty sharply worded letter this past week, talking about the federal government's lack of intervention and coordination, creating an untenable situation in Illinois.
Did the white House respond? Have they fixed your problem?
J.B. PRITZKER (Democratic Governor of Illinois): Well, thanks and good morning, Margaret.
Let me also begin by sending our condolences and, you know, our hearts are with the people of Israel at this moment. The families of those who died and also the people who have been kidnapped and taken hostage by these terrorists. So, the United States stands with Israel and so does the state of Illinois, and so do I personally.
Let me answer your question by saying that, you know, we were very clear in our communication with the White House that what we need is logistical support, that is help deciding where these folks ought to go, because they can't all go to Chicago and New York and D.C. They need to go in places where there's even more help to offer. We, of course, are a welcoming state and have been caring for the people who've arrived, but we can't bear the burden only ourselves. So, we've communicated that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Who can? Where do they go?
J.B. PRITZKER: Well, let me also say that the White House has been told, you know, we need resources. And you talk about the Congress being in chaos. The House of Representatives is opposed to any kind of comprehensive immigration reform. It seems like now is the moment to talk about border security and immigration reform. We want immigrants in the United States. We also want border security. It seems like there's a compromise there that can occur.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. Yes.
J.B. PRITZKER: But look, there are lots of places in the country where there are NGOs that can be of assistance to these folks who have arrived. They're here legally. They have refuge in the United States for a moment. My family were refugees to this country too. We ought to welcome them, put them through a process. And if they don't meet the requirements, they should be sent back. And that's what the president is beginning to do now.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Beginning to do with that announcement that Venezuela will now accept some deportations. But, on that -- on that point, you were pretty prescriptive in your letter. You said you need a single office with an identified leader. You told the president, take a more active role. You recommend he put one person in charge who works directly for him. This sounds like a management 101. How did that go over?
J.B. PRITZKER: Well, they – they heard me. You know, there are so many departments that are responsible for helping to care for these asylum seekers, as well as managing them as they cross the border. I hope that they will put one office together. I know the White House, right now, is coordinating it. But they need one office and, in my opinion, one person at the head of that office that we can call, that we can work with to coordinate because, look, we're providing shelter as best we can and providing for the needs of these folks arriving in Chicago. And, as I say, we're a welcoming state and – and we understand the humanitarian crisis that we're addressing. But we can't address this all by ourselves. And we need help from the White House.
One example of this is this communication that I think needs to occur with data so that we can understand who's arriving and when they're arriving and whether they have relatives already in the United States who might be able to help care for them. None of that is being done at the border. That's where it ought to be done.
And then folks shouldn't -- should be told that it's going to get cold in Chicago and New York very soon. And there are lots of other places in the country that they may want to consider going. And the White House and the federal government should be facilitating that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: No, I appreciate your focus on the human element here. I want to ask you about the political. The Democratic convention's in Chicago next year. Are you confident that your city and your state are going to have a better grasp on it by this time?
J.B. PRITZKER: I am confident that we can handle it. But, again, it will require help from the federal government and someone needs to work in Texas with these border politicians to have them stop sending people only to blue cities and blue states. And the president of the United States and the White House has the ability to help disperse folks across the country. That will help a lot.
But we are managing in the city of Chicago, in the state of Illinois, as best we can in these circumstances, but not if just those few politicians in Texas are taking responsibility for this.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
J.B. PRITZKER: It needs to be a federal, national problem that gets handled at the national level.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Governor Pritzker, thank you for your time this morning.
J.B. PRITZKER: Thanks, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be back in a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: On Friday we spoke with Republican senator and presidential candidate Tim Scott from his home state of South Carolina. Our conversation began on the economy and the surprisingly robust September jobs report.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Friday's jobs numbers shattered expectations. It showed some economic momentum. In fact, restaurant hospitality hiring back to pre-pandemic levels. That seems to undercut your argument that the economy is broken.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC and Presidential Candidate): Well, all you have to do is talk to the average American family and ask them what they feel -- how they feel about Bidenomics. The answer is very simple, we've lost over $5,000 of spending power since January of 2021. We should always celebrate the creation of jobs, but we should never forget that we went 52 consecutive paychecks, 52 consecutive paychecks, with a loss of spending power.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And you blame political leadership not the Federal Reserve?
TIM SCOTT: Well, if you think about the fact that over the last, I guess, year and a half, we've seen 16 percent inflation since Joe Biden's taken off, which led to 11 consecutive rate increases, that downward pressure on our economy certainly created cracks and fissures throughout the economy. That was caused by Joe Biden's lack of leadership and understanding of how to create jobs in America.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to bring up something specific about your economic plan.
TIM SCOTT: Sure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Because "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board, which is conservative leaning, it did praise many parts of it, but they zeroed in on your promise to offer the child tax credit to pregnant women, criticizing it saying, "that is social policy masquerading as economics." Why are they and other Republicans wrong?
TIM SCOTT: Well, here's a question, do we want to find a way to encourage life in this country? I think the answer is yes, creating a culture that benefits a single mother like the one that raised me when she gets pregnant, why not extend the child tax credit to when the mother understand that she's pregnant. Let's give her that benefit.
Every single thing that we do that encourages family and encourages mothers to continue forward, I think that's a good thing. As a matter of fact, if you look at the tax code of our country, the one thing since the 1930s that we've seen in our tax code is having the tax code create the kind of America that we want. I'll never back down from helping single mothers like the one that raised me, and mothers overall be in a better position to take care of their families. I don't care
MARGARET BRENNAN: How confident are you congress is going to avoid a shutdown next month?
TIM SCOTT: Well, we have until November the 17th to figure that out, Margaret. I will say without any question, the road to socialism runs right through a divided Republican Party. When you have 221 members of the party in the House, you need 218 to choose a speaker. One of the things they should do is go behind closed doors, let's figure this out in advance.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you have a speaker of the House in mind?
TIM SCOTT: I don't. One of the things I've noticed about those of us outside of the House, the last thing we need are more voices in the House. And you understand this as well as anybody else, there are multiple factions in the House. The last thing we need are more voices on the outside weighing in on the House of Representatives.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, it sounds like you disagree with Donald Trump on his decision to wade into that. You know one of the sticking points on aid –
TIM SCOTT: I do.
MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the sticking points is aid to Ukraine, which I know you have said is vital to U.S. interests.
How do you persuade reluctant Republicans to sign on?
TIM SCOTT: Well, Margaret, one of the things that we saw in the last aid package that was absolutely missing was only $4 billion to finish the construction of the wall, $5 billion to use the available military-grade technology to surveil our border, to stop 70,000 Americans from losing their lives in the next 12 months because we saw that in the last 12 months. So, if you were to be able to, so to speak, walk and chew gum at the same time, if you solved our national security issue on our southern border, in addition to aid to Ukraine, you'd have the kind of package that most Americans, and frankly most members of both houses, would sign off on.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, this week, the Venezuelan government announced that they have agreed to accept back into their country some of the migrants who crossed unlawfully into the United States. That hadn't been happening for some time. Do you support that Biden administration diplomatic initiative?
TIM SCOTT: Well, there's no doubt when the Biden administration decided to give work permits to those Venezuelan, you would only expect for an acceleration of more Venezuelans coming to our country, frankly, illegally. And so to see the Biden administration find common sense is a good thing. I wish they just would have found it in January of 2021.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Tim Scott, Senator, thank you for your time today.
TIM SCOTT: Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching.
Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.
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