tv BBC World News America PBS January 19, 2021 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ narrator: funding for presentation of this program is provided by.. the freeman foundation. byudy and peter blum-kovler foundation. pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you, thank you. woman: and now, "bbc world news". >> i'm katty kay in washington
and this is "bbc world news america." the world marks the final hours of the tumultuous presidency. donald trump himself has issued a farewell address in which he cited his achievements in office. president trump: we did what we came here to do and so much more. katty: on his final day, mr. trump received criticism from an unexpected corner. republican senator mitch mcconnell blamed him for provoking the capitol hill riots. for his part, the president-elect has touched down in the d.c. region and will take the oath of office around midday wednesday to become america's 46th president. while the outgoing secretary of state makes a final dramatic policy statement, accusing china of committing genocide against a population. ♪
katty: welcome to "world news america" on pbs and around the globe. four years is a long time in politics. four years following the ins and outs of president trump's policy has for many felt like a lifetime. today was his last full day in office. to mark the occasion, he released a farewell address touted what heled his administration's accomplishments. just hours earlier, the president was criticized by the top republican in the senate mitch mcconnell for his comments before the capitol hill riots. meanwhile, washington, d.c., is under unprecedented lockdown. our north america editor jon sopel. jon: where once a sea of faces would greet the incoming president as he stoodn the capitol steps, tomorrow it will be flags. thousands and thousands of stars and stripes. this is partly about covid, but even more so now about security.
the entire national mall, which stretches for two miles, has been closed off. washington, d.c., has been transformed into a fortress with 25,000 national guardsmen drafted in. razor wire and fencing everywhere. now nearlywo weeks on from the storming of congress by a mob incited by donald trump. president trump: fight like held, and if you don't fight like hell, you will not have a country anymore. jon: the shock in america over that attempt to overthrow a fair and free election seems to deepen with each passing day, not dissipate, and washington has become a city on edge. the last time the president was seen in public with a week ago when he went to the border wall, something he would point to as one of his achievements from the four years in office. his behavior since the election will be his lasting legacy. the most audacious and unexpected foreign move came when donald trump flew to singapore to meet his north
korean counterpart kim jong-un. the meeting diffuse tensions but has done nothing to slow north korea's nuclear program. here, donald trump's election plans were upended by the covid outbreak and the damage it did to the u.s. economy. coronavirus did not cost him the election, but his erratic handling of it and occasionally bizarre statements did not help him. president trump: i see the disinfectant were it knotted up in a minute to get is there a way to can do something like that? -- knocks it down in a minute. is there anyway way we can do some thing like that? 4 and then the death -- jon: and then the death of george floyd. donald trump saw an opportunity to present himself as a tough president of law and order. tonight, he issued a pharaoh video. president trump: this week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping america safe and prosperous.
jon: but there is still no concession that he lost. now impeached twice, it will be what has happened in america since the election that donald trump will likely be remembered for. he still faces a tricky senate trial with the influential republican leader, once a firm supporter, piling in. sen. mcconnell: the mob was fed lies. they were provoked by the president and other powerful people. jon: but from tomorrow, the focus will be on joe biden, today leaving wilmington, delaware, for the last time before he is sworn in. president-elect biden: well, excuse the emotion, but when i die, delaware will be written on my heart. jon: there will be a frry of announcements and actions in his first days in office. but perhaps the overriding goal will be to lower the political temperature and bring a fractured nation together. it will be a herculean task.
jon sopel, bbc news, washington. katty: president trump is aving america at its most divided since the u.s. civil war. so let's go now to james, a staff writer for "the atlantic" based in washington. thanks very much for joining me. people have very different views about this president. there are people who absolutely love him and will follow him anywhere, even storming the u.s. capitol, and there are people who absolutely hate him. most people would agree he has been extraordinary. what do you think is the most extraordinary thing about this president? james: i think the most extraordinary and unfortunate aspect and the legacy he believed was reinforced by his action after the election, to magnify the worst parts of the national character. every nation through its history has had a brighter and darker part of its tendencies and most presidents all presidents until this one said he was what
we can do together, what we can aspire t donald trump is the only one who tried to magnify and ride on the wave of the darker impulses of america. i am sorry to say i believe that is the case. katty: do you think he has had any achievements? james: yes. the stock market has been very strong. the united states is wealthier by most measures. although in a completely uneven way as many other countries around the world are. i am sure they will be cases we can find where -- dwight eisenhower was once asked about richard nixon's achievements and said come back to me in a while. i am sure there are some places where trump's colleagues can say we did this or that better. the main thing is that the economy by measurable ways and corporate performance and stock performance has gone up. katty: you have covered china.
you we posted there. what do you make of his legacy when it comes to china? james: i was about to say that actually it is probably the case that donald trump has reflected a change in u.s. and western attitudes towards china that was necessitated by changes in china through the era of xi jinping. i think that while there will probably be a much more sophisticated a petition a policy towards china by the biden administration, it will be much less of a sense of a personal flattery of the chinese leaders to american leaders being a motivating point. i think it will be seen that trump was on the right side of history and saying we need to recalibrate towards a tougher point of view. katty: let me ask you a bit more about history here in america. because i keep wondering how history will remember donald trump. will he be the one term president who failed to get reelected? or has he had a lasting impact
on the nature of the u.s. presidency, on the nature of american politics? does trumpism survive donald trump? james: i guess that is a story to be told. it is part of the task that joe biden and kamala hars see now in the ongoing saga of the united states. the united states is always getting itself into trouble, and the question is how the out of trouble forces balance against them. biden and hammes are taking office at a time of extraordinary division. the temperament especially of joe biden is one of inclusion and empathy and saying, how can we work together? that is the first task in addition to the pandemic and economic collapse, finding a way to focus people's attention on what is possible together and see whether trumpism can be a moment rather than a movement. katty: o thank you very much. as we heard earlier, the incoming administration has made
it clear that tackling the coronavirus will be its top priority. mr. biden has vowedo speed up the u.s. vaccination program among other measures. this report now from our north america correspondent nick bryant, and i am warning it contains some flashing images. nick: we normally associate new york with the self-confidence of america. but the coronavirus crisis has shown us the frailties of the world's most powerful land. in the final wee of the trump presidency, there have been days where more than 4000 americans have died, a higher death toll that on september 11 >> it is bizarre. it is scary. it is frightening. >> angelina lost her father. nick: angelina lost her father. >> they are not in the same reality. nick: her mourning made more
painful by family members refusing to believe the coronavirus took his life. she is angry at donald trump for spreading misinformation and downplaying the pandemic. >> furious, angry, confused, disconnected, abandoned. those are always to describe how i feel. there are 350,000 plus people who have died, and it does not seem like any of those people matter. i mean, it is insane. nick: we have seen queues for covid testing. we have seen queues for covid aid. there is hope at the end of this line for teachers. the school gym that only weeks ago serve as a polling station has now become a vaccine hub. >> done. nick: much to the relief of new yorkers like michelle, a teacher on the educational frontlines. >> i have been working in person pretty much since the beginning. it just feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and i can go back now with peace of mind. nick: joe ben set the goal of 100 million doses in the first 100 days in his presidency.
-- his presidency. despite concerns about vaccine supply, here we witnessed a can-do spirit that is so emphatically american. there has been so much despondency in this city for 10 the past 10 months. this is the turning point. >> i believe it will be the turning point. we will get new york city back up and running in no time. >> give yourself six feet. give yourself six feet. nick: this is not just a health crisis. it has been an economic catastrophe. and in a city that never sleeps , we are seeing food banks now having to open 2hours a day. joe biden is promising an almost $2 trillion rescue package. >> the challenge is enormous. the crisis is huge. but america is strong. i believe and i'm hopeful the president can turn things around. nick: there will be talk of a new day in america. but will the biden presidency
really be a panacea? the politics of this country are so sickly, the divisions so ep. the coronavirus has revealed so many american ailments. nick bryant, bbc news, new york. katty: it is an enormousromise , but the country really needs it. we were speaking about china earlier with james. with less than 24 hours in office, the trump administration has taken a parting shot across beijing. not on trade. secretary of state mike pompeo said it's policies on muslims and ethnic minorities in a region our crimes against humanity and genocide. what does this mean? let's bring in bbc's chinese service. why has the outgoing secretary of state on his very last day in office make this declaration at this moment? >> we understand there have been
debates in the admin's patient about such determinations, but there was some objection from trump's economic advisers because obviously this would jeopardize the u.s.-china trade talks. however, mr. pompeo decided to announce such a determination on the last day of his office. this would set an agenda for the biden administration. because his determination would trigger a legal process, which will prompt the new admistration to come up with some punishments to undertake. katty: spell that out for us a little bit. the outgoing secretary of state on his last day has made quite an important policy to commission that means what in legal terms? what does it mean the biden administration has to do or not do now? >> there is no immediate policy impact as far as i know. but this obviously will compel the biden administration to come up with a policy.
while it is worth noting the biden team has used the term genocide to describe china's action, however, this might not be one of the priority issues at this moment after this determination. the biden people have to come up with a solution. at least some policy to spell out their stance. this is a difficult balancing act. this is exactly why we have not heard from pompeo until today to use the term genocide, because it is hard to balance human rights and economic ties with china. katty: not exactly clear what he will do. it is one thing to say something on the campaign trail and another when you are in office. is this an indication to you of whether there is going to be a big shift in practice? there might be in words and terms, but in substance, do you think there is going to be a big shift in america's relationship with china from the trump
administration to the biden administration? >> well, this is the billion dollar question. i don't pretend to know because it has been a difficult issue for any u.s. administration to tackle with. trump certainly has put out many hardline policies towards china. at the end of the day, he signed the trade deal. he put a pause to the trade war with china because many countries, including the u.s., economic ties with china have been substantial, cut off, or compromised. this is a difficult task for the biden administration to inherit from trump. katty: ok. thank you very much for joining us. a quick look at other news now. the italian prime minister has narrowly won a vote of confidence in the upper house of parliament, aided by the support of some opposition senators. the margin of victory was tighter an his allies had
hoped and short of an absolute majority. he won a similar vote in the lower house of parliament nday and can continue to govern with minority government. 12 miners trapped underground after an explosion in a chinese gold might have alerted authorities they are still alive by managing to send a note to the surface. state media says the message was passed through a rescue shaft. food and medicine has been lowered down to the miners. the european union aviation safety agency says it will clear the boeing 737 flights again next week after it was grounded after two fatal crashes. 346 people died in the two incidents. american authorities cleared the aircraft to resume flying again last november. you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come on the program tonight, changes in the air for u.s. climate policy as joe biden aims to wean americans off of fossil fuels.
we will take a closer look at his plans. ♪ katty: german scientists are investigating a possible new mutation of the coronavirus following an outbreak in the south of the country. angela merkel plans to discuss further restrictions with regional leaders. here is the bbc's jenny hill. >> this was diered, scientists say, after 35 people appeared to develop this particular, what they suspecto be, mutation. they are saying at the moment don't panic. that is of course because this virus has mutated many times. and they are not sure at this stage whether it is more infectious, whether indeed it is clinically significant at all. the message for now is don't panic. they are investigating. it could be some days before they have any answers on that. certainly there is great concern about the danger posed by variants. for example, the south african,
british variants we have seen detected in those countries, both of those mutations have been detected in germany. the numbers are small but the government is extremely concerned about them. ♪ katty: what joe biden replaces donald trump in the oval ofce, there will be an immediate reversal on the climate policy with the usb rejoining the paris climate agreement, reducing emissis will be a key foc of mr. biden's $2 trillion package for the american economy, and the new president could change the prospects for international climate diplomacy as well. here is just. >> tackling climate change is not a priority for president trump. president trump: all of this with the global warming, a lot of it is a hoax. it is a moneymaking industry. >> for joe biden, it is at the heart of everything he plans to do. president-elect biden: the
battle to save our planet by getting climate under control. >> todd stern is democratic royalty. obama's climate envoy, a chief of staff. >> shaping national security policy as well as domestic. don't think he is going to get everything the thing he wants done because that never happens, but do i think he will get a significant part of his plan and his strategy executed? yes, i do. >> mr. biden says he wants u.s. electricity to be carbon free by 2035. so much more renewable power. fossil fuel subsidies will go, and there will be cash for electric vehicle infrastructure. 4 million u.s. buildings will get a green makeover. it is an ambitious agenda. the biden team knows there will be pushback. >> we are talking about really almost a handbrake turn and how the economy works.
carbon has been the lifeblood of the economy. so it is going to require a deeply coordinated effort across the economic management of the united states in order to be able to get to the kind of speed of change he wants to see. >> with a wafer thin majority in the senate, mr. biden cannot be certain to get the casor legislation he needs for his radical plans. but he has a much freer hand internationally. glasgow will be hosting a landmark international climate summit in november. with biden in the white house, it stands a much better chance of making significant progress on climate change says the woman who negotiated the paris climate agreement on behalf of the u.n. >> the new biden administration is absolutely key to success at cop 26. i have no doubt they will reach out and begin to weave together a collaborative spirit for cop
26, which has to be a spirit of increased ambition beyond what we have today. >> the wildfires and hurricanes america experienced last year have added fuel to the debate president biden plans to change america's policy on climate and the world's too. hi challenge will b keeping the american public with him. justin, bbc news. katty: just one of the very big things that joe biden has to tackle. he has an enormous inbox. 32 million americans claim irish heritage. one of the most famous of those is, yes, the president-elect. his roots lie in a town with a population of just 10,000 people. here is our reporter, charlotte gallagher. president-elect biden: the people of this nation have spoken. they have delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory. charlotte: supporters of joe
biden celebrating in the u.s and thousands of miles away and across the atlantic, the irish town also mas the moment. in fact, the twists and turns of the electn campaign were followed closely here as joe biden is the descendent of a man who emigrated to the u.s. after the great famine. joe biden may have been born in america, but here he is seen as ballina's famous son. >> there has been under enormous amount of excitement in ballina because obviously it feels like we are connected with someone so powerful now at this stage. the town itself. in 2016, he was in town as vice president and got to meet so many locals. i suppose that i what makes the connection even greater now.
being related to president-elect biden is incredible. it is amazing to know somebody so personally and have a relationship with somebody that is that high up. it is pretty special. obviously, we will do all we can to support him from this end here in ireland. charlotte: joe biden's irish family was there when he was surprised with the presidential medal of freedom in the white house a spent time with him before the election. >> i was very fortunate to go on his campaign trail in february. i went to nevada and spent a couple weeks there. it was just amazing to experience that up close and personal, to spend time on the american campaign trail of the president, the now president of the united states. charlotte: joe biden speaks proudly of his irish heritage as the bbc's nick bryant found out. nick: mr. biden. president-elect biden: bbc, i'm irish. charlotte: hoping for a trade
deal with the u.s., officials in the u.k. will be hoping they can cultivate their own special relationship. charlotte gallagher, bbc news. katty: they like joe biden in ireland. a national memorial in washington is taking place thi evening to remember those who lost their lives to covid-19. these are the latest pictures at the lincoln memorial reflecting pool where president-elect biden and his pick for vice president kamala harris will honor the victims of the coravirus on the eve of his inauguration. he has cities and towns around the country to participate in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells in a national moment of unity and remembrance. health officials diagnosed the first covid case exactly year ago this week. there they are standing in front of the reflecting narrator: funding for presentation of this program is provided by.. the freeman foundation.
by judy and peter blum-kovler foundation. pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you, thank you. ♪ ♪ man: you're watching pbs. narrator: stream the best of pbs on any device with the pbs video app. all your favorite drama, history, science, news, and documentaries all in one place. watch your pbs station live or catch up on the shows you missed. support your pbs station and you can get "passport" giving your full seasons, early releases, special collections and more. get the pbs video app now and stream the best of pbs anytime. anywhere.
♪ judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight -- the transfer of power. an unprecedented security apparatus is now in place in washington as at least a dozen national guard are removed from duty because of "inappropriate comments or texts." then -- the biden agenda. the senate holds confirmation hearings for the treasury secretary and critical national security officials amid a time of instability. plus -- the trump legacy. on the final day of this administration, we look back at the president and his impact. and -- rethinking college. the many disruptions and stressors brought on by the pandemic take a toll on coll