♪ >> Hello, welcome to "Amanpour & Company."
Divided they stand.
Netanyahu calls Israel's relationship with the U.S. unshakeable.
>> They cannot continue down this road.
>> About a crisis driving a public wedge between two long-standing allies.
>> I'm still in shock, I am 62 years old and I've invested my heart and soul to build and now that I'm old, it is destroyed.
>> Lives and livelihoods destroyed in Russia's war on Ukraine.
The Deputy Foreign Minister in Ukraine tells me why they are slugging it out over Bakhmut.
>> It happens on a daily basis.
It seems like every week there is another mass shooting.
And those are the ones that people hear about.
>> We speak to the first Gen Z congressman about the school shooting in Nashville and why America permits this new normal.
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Christiane: Welcome to the program everyone.
I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President Joe Biden launches his second democracy summit today with in-person and virtual participation by over 100 world leaders.
The aim is to weaken autocratic tendencies at home and abroad amid ongoing threats from leaders like Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping who met earlier this month.
Here is the president laying out the stakes.
President Biden: The decisions we make today will affect the course of our world for the next several decades for certain.
We are going forward from this summit.
Our job is to keep building on our progress so we do not start heading in the wrong direction again.
To keep the momentum going.
This is a turning point for our world toward greater freedom, greater dignity and greater democracy.
Christiane: It is one thing standing up to authoritarian adversaries and quite another to hold a long-standing allies like Israel to account.
Today's summit comes as Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Biden traded barbs over the right-wing coalition's controversial judicial reforms.
With the U.S. President hoping they will be abandoned and Netanyahu firing back that Israel makes its own choices.
So, is the world getting more or less democracy?
Is he getting more or less safe?
Let's ask a Biden ally and U.S.
Senator, Chris Van Hollen.
He joined me earlier from Washington.
Welcome to the program.
>> It is great to be with you.
Christiane: Can I start by asking you a bit of news that is going around the world right now, the Russians, the Deputy Prime Minister basically saying they will no longer notify the United States of any sort of measures they take under new START, including a potential missile test and the like.
What does this say to you?
>> This is a very troubling development.
I was concerned when in February Putin and Russia decided they would no longer pursue the new START agreement.
Now they are saying that includes dropping the notifications under that agreement.
And, of course, the notifications are important to prevent misunderstanding, miscalculation and so, this is a very troubling development in that sense.
Christiane: and how does it sit with you and how should it sit with you and all of us at the same time as President Putin has announced he is going to be deploying tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus?
>> Well, it compounds the concerns, because what Putin has been doing with his announcement with respect to Belarus, what he has said previously about nuclear weapons, just is unnecessarily provocative and obviously saber rattling, but we also need to make sure that we understand what he is communicating.
I do think it has been a sign of his desperation in Ukraine.
The war has not been going his way for a very long time right from the start.
This is his way of saying, We've got nuclear weapons.
But I don't think it is going to change the, the impact on the battlefield itself.
Christiane: So this move to a broader image here, because the Ukraine fight is very much portrayed by United States and allies and Ukraine itself as one of fundamental battle for the soul and heart of democracy and today President Biden launches his second annual democracy summit.
I want to ask you whether you agree with what the president has said that actually over the last few years democracies around the world are getting stronger, not weaker.
Under his leadership, getting stronger.
>> Well, I do think we have seen a boost in, in democracies around the world, and democracies working together against authoritarianism and against aggression, as we have seen when President Biden was able to pull together the NATO alliance, our European partners, East Asian democracies like South Korea, Japan, Australia.
So, clearly, democratic countries have rallied together, but I do want to make clear, this is a constant contest, and we've also seen some backsliding in some countries, which is why think it is important that President Biden continue to try to -- rally democracies together.
Democracies come in all sizes and shapes, but we need to try to make sure that we focus on the values that bring us together, and those values are at stake, I believe.
Christiane: OK, so you did mention as some backsliding in some states.
Let's put the competitors, Russia, China on one side and let's bring up your ally Israel.
Do you agree, would you therefore say that this idea of trying to, you know, overhaul the independent judiciary there represents democratic backsliding?
>> Let me just make clear, I would never put Israel and their democracy in any same category with Russia and China.
Those are clearly authoritarian countries.
Now, I have, as president Biden has and others, have been concerned about the ongoing efforts of the new Netanyahu government which is a very extreme right government, to undermine an independent judiciary in Israel.
Because obviously one of the important hallmarks of a democracy is the rule of law, and an independent judiciary.
And so, the effort to hobble that to crippling independent judiciary is concerning, and that is why President Biden and others have expressed those concerns.
Christiane: I'm going to play a little bit of a sort of a quick sort of ad hoc interview that President Biden did today on the tarmac, a reporter asking him specifically about Netanyahu coming to the White House.
This is the exchange.
President Biden: like many strong supporters -- >> Are you -- inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to White House?
>> No, not in the near term.
Christiane: No invite to the White House in the near time, and concerned about the subject that we had just been talking about, the potential to undermine a key pillar of of Israeli democracy.
How do friends stop friends sliding into your authoritarian playbook which is a fact when you start messing with an independent judiciary?
>> I think it is important that we not only hold our foes accountable but we also hold our friends accountable wherever they are in the world.
And, look, the United States is far from perfect, but if we are going to continue to contrast to the democracies of the world, countries that respect the rule of law with authoritarian countries like Russia, like China, that we do have to work together to uphold the standards.
Otherwise it looks like a hypocritical framework.
So, I am glad that President Biden has expressed the concerns he has had about what's happening in Israel with the effort to undermine an independent judiciary.
And I think that the Biden administration is going to want to find ways to hold other countries accountable.
Again, not just our foes but also our friends.
I would also say with respect to Israel, a lot of the focus has been on the Supreme Court, but there is also the whole issue of the Biden administration's position, trying to preserve the prospects of a future Two state solution, and this new Far Right government that includes people like -- who have, you know, been folks who have spread hatred in the past, seem hell bent on trying to exert effective Israeli control, annexation, over the West Bank.
So, that is another very important issue where the United States needs to express his concerns.
Christiane: I was wondering how you would express those concerns.
You yourself have been quite forward leaning on expressing concerns.
I'm going to play a little bite that you know because it is you, addressing secretary of state Blinken.
This is before Netanyahu hit the pause button on these judicial, in the face of massive and unprecedented protests, across the spectrum in Israel.
But this is what you said to Secretary Blinken.
>> I appreciate the statements that have been made by the Biden administration officials.
I think it is important for you personally also to continue to speak out.
I think we look weak when we see time after time actions taken inconsistent with our positions with no consequence at all.
Christiane: So, what are you saying there?
What consequence there for?
The idea of an exception, -- of annexation, those very far right and religious members of the coalition have said extraordinary things like -- he stands in front of a map that shows only Israel and Jordan and basically says that's it.
They don't exist.
>> I do think it is important to distinct between two things going on right now in Israel.
You have the efforts of the Netanyahu government to essentially undermine the Court.
You also have the ongoing issue that we just talked about with respect to Smotrich trying to essentially assert Israeli de facto annexation over the West Bank.
And two individuals with a record of attacking the rights of Palestinians.
So, what I want is that the, for the Biden administration to not just speak out on issues, protecting the two state solution, but make clear that there are some consequences.
We had discussions with the Biden administration about some things the United States could do, including reversing some measures that the Trump administration took in a very final weeks of the Trump administration that blurred the lines between Israel and the West Bank with respect to the conduct of U.S. policy.
Christiane: I know what you're saying.
It seemed to be a carte blanche to annex the West Bank.
But I want to ask you something because obviously there is a very, very strong support for Israel throughout all the administrations, throughout all Congress, etc.
But the people of United States according to a recent Gallup poll show support for Israel somewhat being recalibrated, if not declining.
The decline is most pronounced amongst Democrats who are evenly divided in their support for Israelis and Palestinians and according to this poll, there has been a decade-long decline in the kind of blind support.
Does the fact that more Americans believe in a more equitable handling of the situation by the United States permit you in Congress to go in that direction that you have been talking about?
>> So, I do want to distinguish between support for Israel and support for the policies of a particular government in Israel right now, this very extreme right wing government.
I think the American people, like myself, overwhelmingly support the people of Israel.
Have great affection for the people of Israel.
But are very worried about the conduct and actions being taken by the government of Israel with respect to issues of human rights of Palestinians, with respect to efforts to claim sovereignty, de facto sovereignty over the West Bank with comments made by Smotrich where he talked about the need for the state to wipe out a Palestinian village.
With the fact that you have the air to the -- Party, a vicious right-wing movement in Israel.
So we say, President Biden says, we have a relationship with Israel based on shared interest and shared values, but clearly we do not share the values of others.
And as they continue to get the upper hand in this government, it will continue to raise concerns.
Christiane: Senator, Taiwan, the President of Taiwan is going to visit the United States en route to Central America.
She will stop in New York and Los Angeles.
Do you think the speaker of the house should meet with her, and how do you rate the Biden administration's, you know, China approach?
>> So, I think the Biden administration has expressed and underscored U.S. policy with respect to China and Taiwan just right.
The Biden administration has made very clear that our interest is in protecting the status quo on Taiwan.
We want to make sure that Taiwan can defend itself, we'll provide Taiwan with military equipment to help defend itself.
And we are concerned it is not the United States but actually President Xi that is attempting to change the status quo on China.
With respect to the visit of President Tsai, this is, I believe, going to be her sixth visit to United States in seven years.
She will be transiting the United States.
And as to who decides to meet with her and whether the speaker meets with her, these decisions by American elected officials.
China does not get to dictate who and when American officials meet with Taiwanese officials, but I do want to underscore, the Biden administration has made this clear through public and private communication with the PRC, that we continue to support the status quo with respect to Taiwan and China should not be about the business of trying to change the status quo.
Christiane: One final question on the spat, the deep disagreement between the U.S. and Israel, this government on democracy.
President Biden has uttered the words that he hopes Prime Minister Netanyahu "walks away from the judicial overhaul."
That is rated huge amount of kerfuffle in Israel with Netanyahu responding that we make our own decisions.
Do you hope that he walks away from this?
Because this is not gone yet, just postponed.
>> Right, they just put the pause button on it.
No, I do hope that the Netanyahu coalition will not proceed with the changes they are proposing that would gut the independent judiciary in Israel.
I do want to point out that, as part of a side deal apparently, to postpone consideration of the judicial law, Prime Minister Netanyahu allowed Ben Gvir has given him the green light to form a National Guard under the jurisdiction of Ben-Gvir and there are very legitimate concerns that this could be used as a militia.
Because Ben Gvir has a history of inciting violence against Israeli Arabs.
So, it is important to follow all of the twists and turns.
Yes, they postponed it, but in this case, Ben-Gvir was given the green light to go ahead with forming the so-called National Guard.
There's a Lot to follow, and I do think, you know while there are connections between what's happening with respect to the attack on the Israeli court system, we also have to remember there's also the ongoing issue of, of protecting, preserving the prospects of a future two state solution, protecting human rights of Palestinians, and, of course, we are in a very combustible moment during the Holy Days of three major religions in the holy land.
And the Biden administration has been trying to lower the temperature.
What I expressed the other day and the committee hearing was the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu had, within 24 hour's of reaching these agreements, undermined them, violated them by beginning to talk about expansion of settlements again.
So, a lot going on.
A lot of different moving parts.
I'm glad that you and I are here talking about what is happening there and around the world.
Christiane: Thank you very much indeed for joining us.
>> Thank you.
Christiane: Cautionary words from a powerful U.S.
Now for Ukraine and its allies, defending the country's independence and sovereignty is also about the global fight for democracy.
Today, the you can president Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited his Chinese counterpart to visit Kyiv, telling the Associated Press he wants to engage directly with President Xi Jinping who keeps claiming that he wants to be a peace broker.
In the eastern city -- a Russian missile strike killed two people this week and turned buildings to ruin.
As our correspondent now reports.
Ben: there is not much to be selfish business.
Demolished Monday morning in a Russian strike.
Oleg, his wife and some friends, are loading up what is left.
>> I'm still in shock.
I'm 62 years old and I've invested my heart and soul and money to build it and now that I am old, it has been destroyed.
>> The attack killed two people and injured more than 30.
The likely target -- an Army recruiting office next door.
[beep] In a hospital one of the victims lies unconscious.
A wall fell on her damaging her skull.
The surgeon has struggled since the war began trying to mend shattered lives and bodies.
>> Unfortunately I've had to treat many serious injuries caused by mines and explosions, he says.
>> To the south, another Russian attack hit just next to this Kindergarten.
Empty since the war began.
Strikes like this happen on a daily basis.
This one occurred late on Monday evening.
Hours afterwards, workers make repairs.
This area is regularly hit.
They may be back here soon.
Down the road, closer to the front, only a few residents remain.
73-year-old Tamara is not going anywhere, putting your faith in a higher power.
>> God protects me, she says.
God will save me.
If not, it is what it is.
>> Artem sells supplies to a dwindling community of optimistic gardeners.
>> Everyone is scared he tells me.
Only idiots aren't.
Until now, I am here by of -- but I evacuated my children.
>> Not all children have left however.
One finding solace on a swing amidst the ruins.
Christiane: Extraordinary sight of that child.
Reporting from Eastern Ukraine.
I am joined by the Deputy Prime Minister from Kyiv.
Thank you very much for being with us again.
I just wanted to ask you related to that report that we just saw from close enough to the frontlines, your government is trying to get the place evacuated, especially Bakhmut where still people are, despite the fierce onslaught.
As you can see from that report, not everybody is ready to leave.
How much of a problem is that for the battle?
>> It's a pleasure to join the program as always.
It is indeed a tragedy for any human being to go away from a house that some of those people literally built up with their own hands.
Then as government -- over time that it might be a threat for those people living on the front line.
That not all of them are ready to do so.
We keep on communicating and we keep on insisting that evacuation must happen, but -- Unfortunately, people sometimes emotionally are not ready to leave their houses.
It is just a matter of acceptance.
But people are under huge threat.
Christiane: In the meantime before I get to the battle of Bakhmut, we have been hearing more and more reports over the last few weeks of the incredible, not just toll on actual lives, on buildings, on bodies, but also the mental toll.
We've seen reports from some of your psychiatric units.
We have heard about soldiers on the front suffering world war I style shock/trauma and traumatic experience.
How much of an issue is that for you?
Can you talk to us about that?
>> Yes, probably as a human being I believe that the whole Ukrainian nation is traumatized.
Even though you never know how it might be triggered.
I can speak on behalf of myself, saying that, for example, I allowed my, first time I allowed myself to cry since the very start of the invasion in two weeks after when I got, when my suitcase with my belongings came from Kyiv to the western part of my country, and it happened in a moment.
When I touched my pants, because I was not able to buy anything because of the -- all the shops were closed.
And then you never know when any human being can -- its trauma, but I can tell you for sure that not only soldiers who are seeing and witnessing this barbaric war, who are witnessing tortures, rapes, killings, shellings, but average people who are separated from their families.
we have 8 million Ukrainians who left the country and their husbands are in Ukraine and more than a year of separation.
You can imagine how traumatic it can be, separation.
Then separation of mothers.
In my case, I have my two daughters abroad and I saw them only for three times since the start of the invasion.
Of course it is a huge trauma.
So I think that, for a long-term process of recovery will be happening after the resolution of war.
But now, believe me, at this stage of the war it is still an extensional matter of survival.
need to survive physically And, after that we can speak about the mental recovery.
Christiane: I hear you and as you were speaking we saw these devastating aerial photos of the destruction in Bakhmut.
So, let me ask you about that.
There has been a lot of talk about Bakhmut.
Your president has talked about it and visited many time.
The Russians,, the Wagner Group, seems to be putting a huge amount of attention on that.
Now I want to ask you what seems to be going on.
We understand that Russian-made pretty serious inroads, potentially was about to be able to capture a key small road but a key artery.
How do you describe the state of the fight in Bakhmut now?
>> It is still terrible.
I'm probably not the best person to -- the military offensive taking place there, but there are four main battlefield.
So, the battlefield, of the harshest war is taking place there.
It is still a question, but what will be the outcome?
But I can tell you for sure that the Armed Forces of Ukraine has proved his capability.
Even though we can hear some questions and voices that Bakhmut, that Russians might accomplish their goals in Bakhmut, but I think in order not to allow this to happen, we have, we have to follow several -- wishes the shipment of needed weapons, -- which is the shipment of needed weapons and shows we have critical knee.
We have the first shipment of German and British tanks that has arrived, they have arrived in Ukraine.
But more should be sent.
With due support, the Ukrainian Army is capable not only to protect its territories but to counter, for the counter offensive operations, because for today it is approximately 17% is still under occupation.
We have 20% since the very beginning of the invasion, 3% is occupied.
So we have proved that Ukrainian Army is capable of de-occupying.
A key point, the dynamic of the occupation and successful counteroffensive, we have to be, deal with that.
Christiane: Let me ask you them because obviously everyone wants to know whether there is any opportunity for peace.
Your president today warned that defeat in Bakhmut would spur on Russia's narrative, but also make Ukraine look weak, and as he said, "cause pressure to push, push, push forward more aggressively."
At the same time, President Zelenskyy is asking Xi Jinping, president of China, to come to Kyiv.
Tell me why.
>> First, every war is not only the physical and conventional war that we see the battlefield, it is mostly about the Spirit.
Of course, any defeat of the Russian army -- impacts us and has its effects and likewise the victories, tactical victories of Ukraine -- the Ukrainian Army is a huge step towards raising the Spirit because every Army needs it and the Ukrainian Army critically needs this.
So I think that Bakhmut is a critical point to hold this period up to keep on counteroffensive, because you know that we have been preparing for serious counteroffensive, which might take place soon.
For that reason, any success is important.
When it comes to, let's say peace brokering, and peace initiatives of China, we have been repeatedly saying that any peace negotiation or any peace initiative is OK on the parity basis.
President Zelenskyy many times said he is ready to talk to any leader, especially to the Chinese leader when it comes to the resolution of peace.
If China is really serious about it, it will consider parity basis, it will consider the involvement of all parties to the war, because after the visit to Moscow, there should be a direct dialogue between President Zelenskyy and Xi Jinping.
I think it is critical for, if any country is really serious about the initiative, about the resolution of the war.
Then to conclude myself, our president initiated the peaceful -- which is 10 simple steps that should be the basis of any negotiation.
Integrity and sovereign nation is a very fundamental thing.
The rest, any initiatives that does not include this simple formula are not negotiable for Ukraine.
Christiane: What do you make, and how dangerous do you think it is for you that President Putin has announced he is going to be deploying some tactical nuclear weapons next door to you in Belarus?
>> So, I think it is yet another demonstration that President Putin did not achieve and did not accomplish his goals with Xi Jinping's visit.
It is yet another threat language that they traditionally perform not only since 24th of February but since 2014 and even before for decades in the -- President Zelenskyy, nuclear security is the very fundamental issue.
So, I think what we see as a message and by the way, Lukashenko has not commented yet, these messages, to my knowledge if I am not mistaken.
I didn't have a chance to follow it, but I think that this is something that is usual for Russia to blackmail, to always raise the stake of messages that come from Russia.
And the reason for that is to hold in ear the-- in fear the whole international community and sometimes, Ukraine let me be very clear up we are sometimes scared but we are not panicked because -- that brings us to numbness.
It means that Russia has accomplished its goals.
We cannot allow ourselves to be scared.
Christiane: Let me just end by asking you, you told me last time that you are originally from Crimea.
Today there have been reports that there was some kind of potential Ukrainian reach into Crimea.
There was video shown.
It has not been clarified by your government or commented on.
Is that still a place where Ukraine is determined to project its military demonstration?
I don't know how to put it.
Are active against Russian positions in Crimea?
>> Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine.
And, of course, Ukraine is -- but I would say that territorial integrity, it should be taken very clearly, it is something that we cannot bargain, trade or negotiate.
Crimea, let me be very clear.
there are thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people waiting for Ukraine.
And the solution of Russian paradise in Crimea of those overwhelming majority of support of Crimean people to the Russian -- is another false narrative because there are hundreds of thousands of Crimean and ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians who are not supportive to the occupation of Crimea, who are willing to live in freedom.
Of course, I believe that there are people brave enough who still resist.
I know this people, some of these people.
Some of them are my friends.
I know that they have been resistant by trying to inform the Ukrainian people about the reality, this, by the way why we still have a number of political prisoners in Crimea, because people are resistant.
Christiane: It's really interesting to see how this is going.
Deputy Foreign Minister, thank you so much for joining us.
We also apologized for some of those technical glitches.
To the bloodshed in America's classrooms.
A grief stricken community in Nashville is gathering for a vigil this evening to mourn the three children in the three adults were killed in a mass shooting at a Christian school on Monday.
More details are emerging about what happened that day.
New body cam footage is showing how the police confronted the shooter, who local authorities say was under care for an emotional disorder and had legally purchased seven guns in the past three years.
For Americans everywhere, this incident is incredibly triggering.
Our next guest is no exception.
Democrat Maxwell Frost made history in 2022 when he became the first person from generation Z to win a seat in Congress.
Formally one of the leaders of the March for our lives movement.
He tells Michelle Martin why the shooting in Nashville is so utterly outrageous.
Representative Frost, thank you so much for talking with us.
>> thank you so much for having me.
>> I just wanted to start thinking about the fact that we're speaking with you after a person killed six people at a Christian school in Nashville.
People may remember that you were the first national organizing director of the student led anti-gun violence group March for our Live.
s. Just a couple of days ago was the fifth anniversary of that 2018 student led campaign.
I just was wondering what the last day or so has brought up for you as a person so involved that issue.
>> You know, it is incredibly number one triggering for myself and for the friends of mine that have grown up with over the past decade fighting with to end gun violence.
I go on social media every time after the shootings and see my friends from Parkland, my friends from the different shootings across the entire country talking about having to relive their own trauma because of what is happening right now.
I found out about the shooting right before I hopped on a plane to come to D.C. And spent the whole time thinking about him being very angry about the fact that this isn't normal and should not be a reality when we live in a world that for so many people growing up especially people part of my generation, they see this gun violence as normal, because it happens on a daily basis.
Seems like every week there is another mass shooting.
And those are the ones people hear about.
There are so many shootings -- we lose 100 people a day due to gun violence.
The multiple instances of gun violence happen in black and brown communities.
White middle-aged Americans who will take their lives with a gun in a day as well.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done on this issue.
>> Is there any work that you have done in Congress that sheds light that this solution seems to elude us?
In gun violence and on any issue, whenever you see broad opposition, and why has nothing been done, what going on?
Almost always, I will say always, there is some sort of lobby behind it that has a goal of valuing profits over people.
And is the same thing in the gun issue.
You can boil it down to culture, a huge part of it and boil it down to power, which is a huge part of it, but behind all of that, there are think about the NRA says they are an advocacy organization.
They are not an advocacy organization.
They are lobbying -- they are a lobbying front.
That way these gun companies can make more money.
Corporate greed, and the role the corporations play in our politics is a huge reason why we do not have voting rights or adequate gun laws in this country, huge reason why health care in this country is not a health care system by a sickness care system and really something we cannot just look about and tech -- and talk about.
In the 10 years I've been working on this issue, one bill has passed and it is an OK bill.
It will save lives, but that is the reason why.
It all balls down to corporations, -- boils down to people valuing profits over people.
>> You arrived in Congress at the point at which your party went into the minority after having been in the majority for some number of years.
But I was looking at the list of hearings today's and many of our -- of them are big tech censorship, disorder at the border, I am interested in how you set priorities for yourself at a time when the institutional -- levers do not seem to be there in the house for people with your perspective.
>> No what the situation is, no matter what is going on we have to stay true to our values and what we believe in, and the issues we ran on.
I ran on ending gun violence and ensuring everyone has health care.
I ran on voting rights and I ran on ending a climate crisis and I will stick true to those values the matter who the speaker of the house is.
However, we do know that a lot of times we have to take small steps to get there.
We-- it doesn't mean we let go of the North stars, but we realize up a situation.
The Republicans have a slim majority and they are focused on not bills that will help people that bills that will set themselves up to keep the house and run for president in less than two years.
I'm not making this up.
Jim Jordan, one of the most senior members of that party, said it himself that the next two years will be about setting -- themselves up for the election.
And we see that in the bills.
Look in the bills I had an oversight.
I had one that was called the Biden investigation: the Department of treasury, like it is some sort of movie title.
I had another one was that Hunter Biden laptop Twitter files, part I.
When is part II?
It is all theatrics.
And it is all messaging and not about affordable housing, not about helping working-class families, not about helping to end gun violence, supporting small business, none of that.
That is all about messaging and pacing -- and placing blame on the Biden administration for issues that have been there for a while and issues they are not interested in working together on.
>> Given the realities as you understand them, what is your role here, what are you going to do?
>> It a few different things.
On oversight, I have an important job of pushing back on all of the lies we're seeing from this far right MAGA wing of the Republican party and we will continue to push back on those things in these committee hearings and that is one of our front lines over the next two years.
On space and technology, which is the other committee I sit on, this is more of a bipartisan committee, where we can work together on the -- I am on the environmental subcommittee, work together in terms of resiliency against the impacts of the climate crisis.
We are not going to get the green deal this year or next year, but what we can get are smaller incremental steps that hopefully appropriate money in the right where we can -- where we can prevent the climate crisis and put money in the hands of community groups that are doing great work.
In terms of resiliency but in terms of preventative measures and reducing emissions.
So that is one of the examples on gun violence I just filed my first bill last week, to create a federal office of gun violence prevention, a bicameral legislation which means that it also was introduced in the Senate.
I worked with Chris Murphy.
We introduced it at the same day with advocates and survivor surrounding us.
That is a bill that -- it is not gun policy, it is just a department to research data and provide recommendations on gun violence.
I hope that because it is not quote unquote policy and is about creating an office that we get Republican support.
Is it going to end the gun violence immediately?
But it is providing a daily solution to a daily problem.
>> Do you see any areas of possible agreement with members of the house majority, the Republican Party, on matters such as this?
>> I hope so.
I've had conversation with members of the Florida delegation and we have already done two bipartisan things.
Number one we worked together on the, Republicans and Democrats, ensuring there is no -- in Florida.
We also all came together to write a letter to the Florida Legislature to protect the Everglades.
We have already been doing it.
We cosponsored a ton of bipartisan legislation.
None of this is the type of legislation that, the transformational change we redirect -- we need.
I do not know if you saw the recent report but we do not have much time to drastically cut emissions or my generation and my kids or kids' kids are going to have the consequences to bear.
We see that Republicans are being very, you know, there is a vengeance associated with being in the majority right now.
So, there has not been a ton of collaboration on a lot of the bigger ticket items.
>> Is that really across-the-board or is just -- is that for the cameras?
What I'm curious about is behind the scenes, are there members of the House Republican majority who are willing to work with people like you and others like you on things that, that would move the ball forward?
>> Some are.
You'll rarely find someone in Congress, a member, who -- doesn't want to work with anyone on anything.
Even far right members I disagree without a lot of things, I had conversations about music legislation, etc.
that they seem open to.
There is not a ton of bipartisan legislation passed this session here here's the thing.
No one hears about it because the majority is not making a big deal about it, because, you know, they have a mission and that mission right now is messaging for the next election cycle.
The next two years are one big campaign.
And I think, as you look at these committee hearings and you look at the pieces of legislation we are voting on like the parental Bill of Rights last week that we voted on, apparently it gives parents rights, it does not do that at all actually.
It is not even talk about the right of students do not get shot in their classrooms.
If Republicans in Congress cared what is going on in schools, why can't they do something as school shootings to ensure that children have nutrition in schools?
Wouldn't ensure that students have the materials they need so students can learn?
It is a cycle, blame public education on all the problems and then try to privatize the system.
And then we had the shooting, and less than a week after we voted on the parental Bill of Rights.
It is a very horrible irony, there is a lot of work to do.
>> Is there anything that surprised you about being in Congress?
>> Not a ton.
I would say that partisanship is really built into the operation of Congress.
It is not just a thing that has happened.
It is part of the building.
It is part of the way we operate.
I will give you an example.
My orientation, we are only with our Republican colleagues for the morning.
And then is when the classes are going on.
I'm trying to pay attention.
And after that, there is a bunch of other events, and you get split up, and you're not with each other the whole night.
You have to go out of your way to create opportunities, we have the cloak rooms, we sit on separate sides of the aisle.
We caucused separately.
A lot of the caucuses are separated by party, even though there members who might actually be able to join different ones.
Either way, the way partisanship is built into the operation here has been a big surprise for me.
>> And what about generationally?
Do you feel a big divide with with other members, the median age of voting members is I believe 58.
I think the median age of voting age in the Senate is 65.
Do you feel it?
Does it seem like that?
>> I will say there is a generational divide, 100%.
>> How does it play out?
>> a lot of times it is in the little things.
You look at something like the TikTok hearing that just happen.
You listen to a lot of the questions and they are like, stupid questions that if you knew anything about tech and the way that TikTok works, you would not ask it.
Not saying you should not have a hearing on protecting data and privacy but the words people are saying are just like, wild.
It is not just about younger people.
It is about educated people in terms of tech.
And young people are actually much more educated in this space because Gen Z, for instance, the thing that separates our generation for other generations we have been immersed in technology since birth.
That is the defining factor of Gen Z, technology since birth.
Cell phones and Internet since birth.
Because of that we are naturally educated on tech and the Internet because it has been a factor of our lives.
And so, it is part of the reason it is important to have younger people in Congress but not just young people, educated people on these different topics.
>> If you and I were to talk again, I hope we will, by the end of next year, what do you think we will be talking about?
Do you hope there will be something specific we can point to that you can say this is different because I was here?
>> Number one, first and foremost is the work I do back at home, the constituent services.
The way we engage with our community.
I did a community swearing-in in Orlando.
Usually when a congressman is sworn in, it is a small event, maybe a small group of people, some people do bigger things.
We did in the gym of a community center and a neighborhood that needs a lot of help in central Florida.
We had over 1000 people show up, because we knocked on doors days leading up and we were in the community talking about it everything they.
And we had 1100 people come out, that is not normal.
In terms of the progress and change in the way people thing about politicians and politics, we are doing that back at home.
It is not going to get on the news because it is not sexy enough or whatever, but it does not matter -- the speaker of the house or who is in the majority, the work we do at home is paramount.
Especially in the state of Florida where we have a Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis chipping away the hopes and dreams and desires of everybody.
And so it is important that we provide that leadership.
Honestly, in this moment that is the most important thing for me.
>> Before we let you go, the, Florida, there is only things we can talk about.
The fact is, Governor DeSantis was reelected by wider margins than he was first elected.
He seems extremely popular in the state and he seems poised clearly to run for the presidency.
It would seem he would have every incentive to go down the road he is.
I mean, is part of your job right now gumming up the works as opposed to fulfilling your own agenda?
Do you see what I mean?
Is there really anything you can do?
>> A huge part of it is using my office in the way we can to advocate and help people that are going through this.
You know, there is a huge -- it impacted folks being able to actually talk about what is going on in Florida, because there is this, uh, culture of fear right now in the state.
When I see teachers, superintendents, they are scared to speak up because they will literally get fired.
For instance, we had a high school that they have had this event for a long time, years and years, called Dragon donuts and there is a drag queen in central Florida that comes in.
It is not a show, not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is a conversation with the drag queen about the work they do in the community as far as feeding people and Small Business and etc.
So, the state essentially told the school board and told the district they need to shut this down or else they will fire anyone associated with it, teachers, administrators, et cetera.
We have this fascist Florida government that is using, abusing its powers to scare people into submission to doing what they want.
So, that includes, it is difficult for legislators to speak out.
We saw what happened to the state attorney in Hillsborough County where, because he was vocal, he was suspended from office by Ron DeSantis.
Which was unconstitutional.
There's a group a people he cannot touch and it is members of Congress and it's students.
So, that is why we are seeing a lot of students step up and be the voice for what is going on.
And President Biden and the administration needs to do a lot more, the DOJ needs to do a lot more and we need the Attorney General involved and we need the department of education to launch an investigation on what is going on in terms of don't say gay.
We need leadership from that point.
My two things are number one, ensuring people know about it, being vocal, being vocal in the communities, hosting events and rallies so people understand what going on and then also, pushing the levers of power that we do have.
Because you are right, I hold no executive powers.
I don't have any departments that are wrong.
All I have is my influence and my ability to bring the subject to bear at the national level, and so we will do that in big ways.
>> Congressman Maxwell Frost, thank you so much for talking with us today.
>> Thank you so much for having me.
Christiane: the first Gen Z Congress in laying out his priorities.
That is it for now but do not miss the show tomorrow.
My conversation with the art duo Gilbert and George about their new center and exhibition space.
They told me about their connection with lives downtrodden that led to a sing-along.
We leave you with a little bit of that now.
>> ♪ there's only one place that I know and that is where I sleep Underneath the arches I dream my dreams away Underneath the arches On cobblestones we lay Every night you will find me, tired -- and warm Happy when the daylight comes creeping Heralding the dawn Sleeping when it is raining and sleeping when it is fine La da da Da da da ♪♪