Full transcript of "Face the Nation," May 5, 2024

On this “Face the Nation” broadcast, moderated by Margaret Brennan: 

  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican
  • Sen. John Fetterman, Democrat of Pennsylvania
  • Rep. Ro Khanna, Democrat of California
  • Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan

Click here to browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”   

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan.

And this week on Face the Nation: Campus chaos continues from coast to coast.

Plus, South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem kicks off her book tour today, and we have got the first interview.

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MARGARET BRENNAN: Campus protests tied to the war between Israel and Hamas spilled into the weekend.

And with no breakthrough yet in Mideast negotiations for a short-term cease-fire and hostage release, the political pressure on President Biden builds. He tries to calm the domestic furor.

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JOE BIDEN (President of the United States): Dissent is essential to democracy, but dissent must never lead to disorder. There’s the right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos.

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MARGARET BRENNAN: We will talk with two key Democrats as those protests continue, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman and California Congressman Ro Khanna.

Plus: Have South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s chances to become former President Trump’s running mate been helped or hurt by some controversial revelations she makes about herself in her new book? She’s just back from a Republican gathering with Trump in Palm Beach.

Finally, our conversation with Jordan’s Queen Rania. She’s of Palestinian descent and shares her views about the war in Gaza and her hopes for peace in the region.

It’s all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

We begin this morning with the Republican governor of the state of South Dakota, Kristi Noem. Her upcoming memoir, “No Going Back,” is out this Tuesday.

And she joins us from Watertown, South Dakota.

Welcome back to Face the Nation.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM (R-South Dakota): Thank you, Margaret. Thank you for inviting me to be on with you today.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Governor, I have your book right here.

The very first blurb in it is an endorsement from Donald Trump. He says: “This book, it’s a winner, lays out a fantastic plan to make America great again.”

I know you’re back from a gathering with Mr. Trump and other Republicans in Florida. Did he mention any of the response to your book at all?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Oh, he certainly knows about the book, and I appreciate his endorsement of it.

You know, this is really a book that talks about how we’re not going back. It’s – we’re not going back to the days before Donald Trump. Donald Trump broke politics. And I think that’s a good thing. We’re not going back to the days of Mitt Romney or the Bushes, that now there’s a new way to do and talk to the American people, and they appreciate it.

It’s an honest, genuine conversation about what these citizens can do to take back their government and to have more input. So this book is really a how-to guide for how to make your voice heard and how – for people in this country, what they can do to really make sure that they are getting genuine elected officials that really want to give them more freedom and liberty.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you write about lessons learned in leadership, and you bring up some specific incidents I want to ask you about.

You talk about meeting some world leaders and one specific one – quote – “I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. I’m sure he underestimated me, having no clue about my experience staring down little tyrants. I have been a children’s pastor after all.”

Did you meet Kim Jong-un?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Well, you know, as soon as this was brought to my attention, I certainly made some changes and looked at this – this passage.

And I have met with many, many world leaders. I have traveled around the world. As soon as it was brought to my attention, we went forward and have made some edits. So I’m glad that this book is being released in a couple of days, and that those edits will be in place, and that people will – will have the updated version.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you did not meet with Kim Jong-un? That’s what you’re saying.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: No, I have met with many, many world leaders, many world leaders. I have traveled around the world, I think I have talked extensively in this book about my time serving in Congress, my time as governor, before governor, some of the travels that I have had.

I’m not going to talk about my specific meetings with world leaders, I’m just not going to do that. This anecdote shouldn’t have been in the book. And as soon as it was brought to my attention, I made sure that that was adjusted.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: So, the book is not released until Tuesday.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And so we’re doing all that we can to make sure that those changes are made. And I’m going to continue to focus on what this book is, and the blueprint that it lays out for the American citizen on all of the things in the background and stories of my life, but also what I think that needs to be identified in politics and was broken today.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I talk about how broken the money game is, how broken it is that – that we’ve got consultants that are getting rich off of elected officials, and then how fake some elected politicians are.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Every single person in this country wants someone in elected office that’s – that’s a human being, that doesn’t say they’re perfect.

I take responsibility for that being in the book. And as soon as it was brought to my attention, I asked for it to be changed. So I’m glad that the release date is in a couple of days. And we’re excited to talk to America about my new book, “No Going Back.”

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you talk about your time in the Armed Services Committee from 2013 to 2015. In that period of time, the leader of South Korea was a female president.

I’m wondering, who is it that you confused Kim Jong-un with?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Well, I think you need to remember, Margaret, and everybody needs to remember that I have worked on ag policy and federal policy for over 30 years.

My time in serving and making policies in this country has been extensive and covered decades.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, but you never went to North Korea.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: So, I make no specifics in this book. I talk about the fact that – yes, I have. I have been there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You went – you went to North Korea?


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I went to the DMZ. And there are details – there details in this book that talk about going to the DMZ and specifics that I’m willing to share.

There’s some specifics I’m not willing to share with you. I have traveled the world, and I visited with world leaders. And some of that is referenced in the book. And this anecdote is something that, when it was brought to my attention…


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … we made some changes. And when the book is released, we’ll do all that we can to see that – that that is reflected.


Well, I’m asking you about that specifically, because you – you made the point to bring him up twice, and that he was a little tyrant.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Do you have a question for me, Margaret?


South Korea is a treaty ally. North Korea is a nuclear-armed adversary, so that’s a…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … pretty big thing to confuse.

I know you read this book before it was published…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … because you released video of your recording of the audiobook.

You didn’t catch these errors when you were recording it?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Well, Margaret, as soon as it was brought to my attention, I took action to make sure that it was reflected.

And, listen, this is what is so discouraging about politics and the media today, is that we have the White House that just recently came out and confirmed that President Joe Biden has misspoken, has made mistakes, has even outright lied over close to 150 times just this year.

And you’ve done nothing to question him on any of that. And you’re – you’re talking about a book that hasn’t been released yet, that’s been corrected before it’s been released. And you haven’t said one thing about Joe Biden saying that he was in prison with Nelson Mandela, that he started the civil rights movement, that he drove an 18-wheeler, that his uncle was eaten by cannibals.

MARGARET BRENNAN: If I had an interview with Joe Biden, who I have asked for multiple times, I will definitely ask him about his record.

But I’m asking you about your book here, which we have. So…

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Well, I’m just asking – I’m just asking for why – why am I being treated differently than every other person that you’ve interviewed? I have looked at your last several weeks of your interviews.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m quoting you.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: You don’t – you don’t interrupt other people. You let them talk.

Thank you for inviting me to have this conversation about this book. This book is extremely important to the people of this country. It is important, because it’s a how-to guide of what they can do to have input into their government, how we need breakers and builders in this world.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And I’m taking responsibility for the change that we’ve made. And the buck stops with me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, and for the mistake in the book?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And I have told you that, and I’m – no, it’s not. What I have said is that I have decided that this anecdote should…

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re not taking responsibility for the mistakes in the book?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I have decided this – I – I am saying that this book is very, very good. And I have met with many world leaders, and that I – there are world leaders that I have met with that are in this book.

There are many that I met with that are not in this book.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And this is an anecdote that – that I asked to have removed, because I think it’s appropriate at this point in time.

But I’m not going to talk to you about those personal meetings that I have had with world leaders.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I’m just not going to have that conversation, because I think it’s important.


You do mention Benjamin Netanyahu as well, though, in it among world leaders. In an interview with “TIME” magazine this week, former President Donald Trump was asked about Israel and Hamas, and he said – quote – “Bibi Netanyahu rightfully has been criticized for what took place on October 7.”

Do you agree with Mr. Trump?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I think that Bibi Netanyahu is a strong leader who’s leading Israel through extremely difficult times.

October 7 was horrific, and the crimes that Hamas committed against the Jewish people were absolutely awful, and that the United States of America should stand strong with our allies in the Middle East. I’m proud to – to know the Jewish people and their leaders over many, many years.

And I think that what Hamas is doing and the atrocities that were committed are horrific, and that we should never stand for the antisemitism that we see going on in the United States of America. And what’s – happens on our college campuses is absolutely devastating. It should be shut down immediately.

I’m disappointed that President Joe Biden didn’t take action immediately to stop these violent crimes against the Jewish people that have happened on our own college campuses right here in the United States of America. It should have never been allowed and it should be stopped today.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, so you don’t agree with Mr. Trump’s statement there.

I want to ask you again about the book. I – I know you know this question is coming, because there’s been such an enormous backlash about your revelation that you shot and killed a wirehaired pointer named Cricket who was 14 months old.

You say in the book she came from another family that struggled with her aggression. You’d been training her to hunt. She got too excited, ruined the hunt, and then attacked and killed some chickens.

I wonder if you have regrets about sharing this story.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: You know, Margaret, this book is filled with vulnerable, painful moments in my life, filled with times where I have made very difficult decisions.

The reason that this story is in the book because people need to understand who I am and some of those difficult decisions. This was a dangerous animal that was killing livestock and attacking people. And – and I had little children at the time. Our operation had many kids running around and people and interaction with the public.

And I made a difficult choice. I think you’re a mother too. And you have little kiddos. Would you make a choice between your children or a dangerous animal? And I think I would ask everybody in the country to put themselves in that situation.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Because that’s what I faced. And I talk about it because what I’m tired of in this country is politicians who pretend to be something that they’re not, that they aren’t willing to have the hard conversations and look at the past and the tough decisions that they’ve made.

I’m – what I talk about in the book extensively when people are able to get it on Tuesday is to see the whole story and the truth, not the spin that the media has put on this story. The media has put some or removed – removed most of the facts and – and what – the reason this is in there…


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … is because I want people to know that I don’t ask anybody else to take on my responsibilities.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I understood my responsibility. And, as a mom, I made a choice between protecting my children, and protecting them from a dangerous animal that was killing livestock and attacking people.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And that’s the decision that I made. I…

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I – I described – I described, I think accurately, how you wrote it up in the book.

You didn’t say the dog attacked people. You said it had tried to bite you. And I just wonder why you concluded that a young dog…


MARGARET BRENNAN: … was untrainable and not just take it to a shelter?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: This dog was a – well, this dog was a working dog. And it had come from a family that already had issues with this dog.

And I had put months and months of training into this dog. This dog had gone to other trainers as well. So – so, all of that is the facts of the story. And all of that shows that, when you put someone in a position where they have to make a – a decision, and they want to protect their family, and protect children and other people from getting attacked…


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … from an animal that has attacked others and killed livestock, that’s the choice I made over 20 years ago.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … and that I didn’t ask somebody else to take – take that responsibility for me, that I had to make that decision myself.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because you put it in a part of a chapter called “Bad Day to Be a Goat.”

And then, after you shot the dog, you – quote – “realized another unpleasant job needed to be done. Walking back up to the yard, I spotted our billy goat.” You said he smelled and would chase kids, so you took him to the gravel pit and shot him twice.

How – how do you justify that? How was the goat a threat? And I’m asking you this because it seems like you’re celebrating the killing of the animals.


This has been a story that my political opponents have tried to use against me for years. It’s well known in South Dakota, and it has been to other people. And I want the truth to be out there and to understand that – that these animals were attacking my children, that – that we live on a farm and ranch, and the tough decisions are made many times.

And it is – it is to protect people. And I will tell you, the – the extremism of other people and how they have attacked me politically, I understand it. They’re doing the same thing to me that they do to Donald Trump every day…


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … every day, the constant attacks and coming after me.

I – during COVID, I was attacked night after night for months after month for the decisions that I made. In fact, you and many other journalists attacked me every single day on TV for months for the decisions that I made in South Dakota, for my people to protect their freedoms and their liberties.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I think we had a very – I think we had a very fair interview.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: So – so, I’m – I’m used to being attacked.

MARGARET BRENNAN: … when you joined us, ma’am, at that time.




MARGARET BRENNAN: And I thanked you for answering questions on it.

But on the – on this point, though, because you have been rumored to be a potential vice presidential candidate, as you know. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said: “Killing the dog and then writing about it ended any possibility of her being picked as V.P.”

You talk multiple times about it. In fact, at the end of the book, you say the very first thing you would do if you got to the White House that was different from Joe Biden, is you’d make sure Joe Biden’s dog was nowhere on the grounds. “Commander, say hello to Cricket.”

Are you doing this to try to look tough? Do you still think that you have a shot at being a V.P.?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: Well, number one, Joe Biden’s dog has attacked 24 Secret Service people. So, how many people is enough people to be attacked and dangerously hurt before you make a decision on a dog and what to do with it?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, he’s not living at the White House anymore.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: That’s – that’s a question that the president should be held accountable to.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re saying he should be shot?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: That what’s the president should be accountable to, is, what is – what is the number?

And I would say, about Republicans criticizing me, these are the same Republicans have criticized me during COVID. They’ve criticized me when I have made other decisions in South Dakota to protect my state. And my state today is extremely happy and thriving. We’re doing well.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: We’ve got thousands of people moving to our state because they love the opportunities that are here and the businesses that have come and how we’ve gotten to be…


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … a state that has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.

Everybody has an opportunity for higher wages. We’ve got revenues and reserves. We paid off our debt. We’ve got a AAA credit rating.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: We’ve got a fully funded pension system. We were the first state in the nation to…

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you’re not going to retract the book?

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: … to really go after and to prevent China…


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I – this book is a powerful book. It’s an honest book. It’s an honest book of a blueprint for America of what citizens can do here to take their country back.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And I’m so proud of this book and – and what it will bring to people. I hope that they will buy it. They’ll find a lot of truthful stories.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: And we talk a lot about what we can use as an example from Donald Trump on how he has continued to be a real person, been genuine, and been honest to people, and that what bothers me the most about politicians is when they’re fake.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But if you have to retract it or parts of it…

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I’m not – I’m not retracting anything.


GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: I’m not retracting anything.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. All right, Governor…

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM: No, absolutely. This book…

MARGARET BRENNAN: … thank you for taking the questions and joining us today.

Face the Nation will be back in a minute. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: There were more crackdowns this weekend on anti-war protests and encampments.

Early this morning, police moved in on the campus of USC in Los Angeles and quickly dispersed protesters. It’s just the latest in a series of sweeps by law enforcement and schools losing patience.

Our Mark Strassmann has the latest.

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MARK STRASSMANN (voice-over): At the University of Virginia on Saturday, police at times sprayed a chemical irritant to help arrest roughly 25 protesters and take down a tent city.

At the Art Institute of Chicago, a new encampment lasted only hours on Saturday. Police moved in. They made at least 68 arrests.

And a new disruption at the University of Michigan’s commencement. Dozens of protesters chanted and waved Palestinian flags. But the event went on. For many schools, this month’s new challenge, graduation, doing it well in the face of all this protest. Here in L.A., USC’s plan? Canceling its main commencement exercise this Friday.

Student journalist Liv Kelleher has covered it all here, the protests, police raids, the ongoing show of force.

LIV KELLEHER (Student Journalist): My view is, administration should have handled this differently. I think the calling in of LAPD was excessive.

MARK STRASSMANN: But the administrators’ message to protesters: Enough.

At UCLA last week, counterprotesters started brawling with people inside the encampment. Later in the week, police moved in, arresting more than 200 people.

In a couple hours at Columbia, the NYPD retook a campus building seized by demonstrators. One officer accidentally fired his gun. No one was hit, more than 100 people arrested. Several schools, like Vassar and Brown, negotiated with demonstrators. In some cases, administrators agreed to talk about protesters’ demands to divest from funding, investments and partnerships with the state of Israel. The protesters went back to their dorms.

But at roughly 80 schools, unrest still fractures campus, with clashing claims of free speech and hate speech.

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MARGARET BRENNAN: That was our Mark Strassmann.

And we turn now to Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman. He joins us from Orlando, Florida, this morning, where he spent the weekend campaigning on behalf of President Biden’s reelection.

Welcome to the show, Senator.




MARGARET BRENNAN: Great to have you here.


MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re cracking up. Do you want to tell us what you’re responding to there?

SENATOR JOHN FETTERMAN: Oh, that – that interview, that was – that was magnificent. No, I – I…


Well, let me ask you about Democrats and your own party. I know you’ve been spending a lot of time on that this past weekend. You’ve been outspoken about these protesters we were just talking about with our reporter there. The director of national intelligence testified this week that there is no U.S. intelligence that Hamas is influencing the protests in the U.S. or directing it in any way.

But I know you have said: “While it’s a great American value to protest, I don’t believe living in a pup tent for Hamas is really helpful.

Do you consider the flying of the Palestinian flag to be antisemitic, or have you actually seen the Hamas flag in some of these protests?

SENATOR JOHN FETTERMAN: No. No, I – I don’t think that, but – but I will – I will say that these kinds of protests haven’t been helpful.

And, ironically, they are actually working against peace in the Middle East as – as well. And it’s also very strange to me that now they’re not actually protesting for a cease-fire now. And there’s been a very valid cease-fire that’s been on the table now, and Hamas has been – refused to take that on.

And I don’t know why we’re not – if we’re going to – protesting, why aren’t we protesting that, demanding Hamas to take that kind of a – a cease-fire? And then that would – that would end all of the – the trauma and the chaotic going on there in Gaza.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, many of these young protesters are protesting against President Biden’s Israel policy, Israel being a recipient of U.S. taxpayer dollars and U.S.-provided weapons. Hamas is not. Hamas is a designated terror group.

So do you have any problem with the attempt to influence the president’s policy through protest?

SENATOR JOHN FETTERMAN: Well, like I said, I don’t – I don’t – I will never support any kind of conditions on Israel during this.

And, again, I would – I am going to continue to center Hamas as responsible for all of that again, then.


SENATOR JOHN FETTERMAN: And, now, if you’re going to protest on these campuses, or now what – they’re going all across America as well too.

I really want to – can’t forget that the situation right now could end right now if Hamas just surrendered, and they just sent all of those hostages home again. And that’s also a thing that I have been frustrated too, is now that those hostages should be really in front of the conversations about the situation in Gaza. Sending them home would really, you know, end, again, all of this immediately.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm. Well, understood, but these protesters – are you saying that, by protesting the president’s policy, you just see any opposition to the president’s policy as Pro-Hamas? Or is it something specific that you have an issue with?

SENATOR JOHN FETTERMAN: I mean, it’s perfectly – it’s perfectly normal, if you don’t agree with the president on this issue or many other issues.

But it’s very strange that, when we have this incredible, important election right in front of us – we’re about six months to go – and it’s really two stark choices.


SENATOR JOHN FETTERMAN: You have Joe Biden, an outstanding president, and then you have Donald Trump, who’s actually now in a trial talking about bribing a former adult film star.


SENATOR JOHN FETTERMAN: And it’s really kind of a stark, stark contrast here.

And – and if you’re willing to walk away from Joe Biden…


SENATOR JOHN FETTERMAN: … it’s inevitable you’re actually supporting Trump.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I need to talk to you about other issues affecting this election on the other side of this break.

So, please stay with us, Senator. We’ll be back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back.



We return to our conversation with Pennsylvania Democratic Senator John Fetterman.

Senator, you said the other day that you’d vote for a Senate version of that House anti-Semitism bill. The ACLU said federal law already prohibits anti-Semitic discrimination and that this bill would chill free speech. Do these concerns resonate with you?

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): I don’t – I don’t disagree with that. I was one of the co-leader sponsors of that bill. So, I’m – of course I’m going to vote yes on that. And I think it’s a very valid concern that really allowed that – that – I mean that’s an overwhelming vote, a bipartisan vote in the House as well, I think. It’s – it’s – it’s a great bill, and I look forward to voting for it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But, sorry, just to clarify, you agree with the ACLU saying that it’s wrong to equate criticism of the Israeli government with anti-Semitism?

JOHN FETTERMAN: No. Well, I – I – I’m not really sure what’s really the – I don’t – I don’t agree – I mean I do think that a lot of the criticism right now during this – the Gaza war, I think at its root does have some anti- Semitism there as well too.

Now, it’s – you know, you don’t have to agree with the Israeli government, but – but a lot of the protesting and a lot of the words that are – that are being thrown around on a lot of these campuses, you know, are actually very anti-Semitism.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. OK, yes, I was just – the ACLU comment was on that House bill, that’s why I wanted to clarify that.

So, you, as we mentioned, have been in Florida for this Democratic fundraiser. Our CBS polling shows that President Biden is in a really tight race in your home state of Pennsylvania with Mr. Trump. Sixty-one percent of registered voters say the economy in Pennsylvania was better during the Trump era, 55 percent said Mr. Biden makes them feel worried, versus 48 percent who say Trump. How tight is this race going to be?

JOHN FETTERMAN: Sorry, we’re having a technical issue.


I was asking you about CBS polling showing a very tight race in the state of Pennsylvania. Are you able to hear me, sir?

JOHN FETTERMAN: The – it’s not – it’s not working.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. All right, I’ll ask one more time, sir, if you can hear me –

JOHN FETTERMAN: Now it’s working. Now it’s working. Now I can, yes. OK.



MARGARET BRENNAN: In the state of Pennsylvania, our CBS polling shows it’s going to be a very tight presidential race for Joe Biden to be re-elected.


MARGARET BRENNAN: The issue of the economy is of paramount importance. And in your state, our polling shows there’s more confidence in Trump’s leadership on the economy than in Biden’s. And this is very acute around the issue of oil and gas. How worried are you?

JOHN FETTERMAN: I’m not – I’m not worried about that. And I want to be very clear, Joe Biden beat – he beat Trump in Pennsylvania and he’s going to do that again. But it’s going to be very close. Absolutely. I’ve been calling that – I’ve been having that same conversation since 2016, that it’s going to be very competitive. And now oil and gas, of course, that’s an issue, but it’s not going to be – it’s going to define the race. And that’s – for sure. Again, it – we have that two very stark choice between those two. And it’s – it’s very clear that – it’s – it’s not going to be a defining factor for sure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we’re going to have a lot of focus on your state in the coming months.

Senator, thank you for your time today.

We’ll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re joined now by California Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna.

Good to have you here.

And you’ve been, I know, visiting college campuses across the country, in Michigan, Nevada, and the Biden campaign recently sent you to Wisconsin. Are we at the point now where the protesters are becoming a story onto themselves and a distraction from the issues that they’re protesting?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): No, I don’t think so. I mean in Wisconsin the issues that came up first were abortion right, second the cost of living and what the president was going to do on student loans and for housing and rent. Gaza came up. But, you know, one of the conversations in Madison with Jewish Americans and Arab Americans was extraordinary civil, thoughtful and constructive. So, I think in a lot of campuses, there are 4,000 of them in the United States, there is actually constructive dialog taking place.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the president isn’t doing those kind of listening sessions. Why?

RO KHANNA: Well, I think the president should and will get out there on campuses. I think –

MARGARET BRENNAN: He gets shouted down “genocide Joe” when he goes to events.

RO KHANNA: And look, that’s part of protests. I condemn any protest that incites violence or that is anti-Semitic. As someone’s whose grandfather spent four years in jail with Ghandi, I mean the whole point of satyagraha (ph) was non-violent protests.

But we have to understand that this is a defining moment for this generation, similar to anti-Vietnam protests, anti-apartheid protests, anti-Iraq War protests. And they’re telling us that over 30,000 people have died. It’s time for this war to end. It’s time for the hostages to be released that Hamas has, and they want to see leadership in America and around the world. This is not the world that they want.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the president, though, has said the protests aren’t making him change his policy. He is unequivocally pro-Israel. It was a month ago he said something had to change or U.S. policy would. Do you expect any change in U.S. policy as a result?

RO KHANNA: I do. And I slightly disagree. I think the protests and the larger movement have had the president change. I mean you look at the president now talking about some of the consequences that could have on Netanyahu, the Aras Canal – the Aras opening opened. The United States didn’t veto the cease-fire resolution in the United Nations after three attempts.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Admits (ph) that it was non-binding.

RO KHANNA: Said not binding, but at least, look, everyone from the president on down is aware that young people are upset at what’s going on in the Middle East. And I do think it’s had an awakening in Washinton that this war has to end, that too many people are dying. And if you look at the president’s language, it’s certainly shifted over the last six months. Now, some of us want there to be consequences.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. And this week we know there’s this May 8th deadline for the administration to provide a report about whether Israel and other recipients of U.S. military aid are using those weapons in accordance with law and whether or not they are blocking humanitarian aid. Is this going to be an honest accounting?

RO KHANNA: I hope so. There’s an independent task force that has issued the report as well. And – all ready.

MARGARET BRENNAN: They’re trying to pre-butt –

RO KHANNA: To pre-butt –

MARGARET BRENNAN: What the administration may put out because they are pretty clear in that non-government report that they do think there are violations.

RO KHANNA: Yes. And let’s be nuanced about what the report says, because it’s actually very thoughtful. They say, look, the Hamas attacks on October 7th were brutal, unjustified. Then they say there are tunnels underground in Gaza, but they say you can’t go destroying residential buildings just because there’s a tunnel because under international law you can’t have disproportionate civilian harm. And they detail cases where that happens. They detail cases where residential buildings were destroyed without any military target. So, my expectation is that the State Department report needs to have that kind of nuance and detail. And if it doesn’t, you’re going to have people asking why in Congress.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, while you were talking about very specific policy changes for very specific allegations, you also see at some of these protests things that are mixed in there, either outside agitators or extreme rhetoric. Your Democratic colleague, Elissa Slotkin, was just tweeting about this protest at GW University. She said there were individuals shouting guillotine, guillotine and having a mock trial of school administrators. She says that’s that creates a climate of fear for Jewish students.

What’s being lost here in the conversation?

RO KHANNA: Well, she’s right, I mean you can’t shout guillotine, guillotine. You can’t be shouting globalize the intifada or Zionists don’t deserve to live. What’s being lost is that those few protesters who are inciting violence or engaging in that kind of anti-Semitism are diminishing the thousands of young people who simply want the war to end.

And I guess I would say look to John Lewis or Dr. King. They, in their protests, were above reproach. If some individual engaged in bigotry, they called them out first and loudly. So, I’m proud of a lot of the young people who want to end the war, but they need to show the discipline.

And some universities have. Look at Cornell. Look at University of Minnesota. Look at what’s happening at Northwestern. There have been efforts not to have the police in, to have dialog with the student protesters, to have much more peace and calm. And there are models for what can work in this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman, it’s always interesting to hear from you.

RO KHANNA: Thank you, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you for telling us what you’re seeing out there on college campuses.

We’ll be back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: This week the king of Jordan will meet with President Biden at the White House. Jordan is a key ally of the U.S., and for the past 30 years has had a peace treaty with Israel. We spoke with his partner, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan on Thursday. She’s of Palestinian descent and an advocate for children.

We began our conversation on the impact of the war between Israel and Hamas, and America’s role in the region.


QUEEN RANIA AL ABDULLAH, JORDAN: People view the U.S. as being party to this war because, you know, Israeli officials say that without U.S. support they couldn’t launch this war. You know, you turn off the tap and the weapons dry out.

So – and so there’s been anger in our part of the world, not at just what’s happening, but at the world’s reaction. When we see these violations – humanitarian rights violations and international law violations and we’re watching the world letting it happen. When October 7th, the world rightfully condemned it and took strong actions, strong positions.

We are outraged that the same is not happening when – when Palestinians are getting killed. And so there is a sense of the selective application of humanitarian law and a sense of unfairness, a sense of, our lives don’t matter as much.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You said people back home see the United States as complicit in what’s happening?

QUEEN RANIA: They see it as an enabler, you know. So clearly the U.S. is the country that has most leverage over the U.S. – over Israel. And like I said, you know, it is the biggest ally and biggest supporter. And the Arab world is getting – the rest of the world, actually, is getting mixed messages. So, on the one hand, the U.S. is demanding that more aid rightfully go back into Gaza. At the same time they’re – they’re denying that the starvation is intentional. On the one hand they are outraged by the attacks on the aid convoys, but at the same time they’re denying that Israel is violating international humanitarian law. There’s an expression of concern over civilian deaths, but at the same time there’s a provision of offensive weapons to Israel that are used against Palestinians.

When you try so hard to thread the needle, you can risk dropping the ball. You can risk letting your values and principles unravel. And that has a deep impact. Either everyone is accountable or no one is.

So, the next time a country breaks rules, you know, and the U.S. comes and tries to apply moral authority, those countries are going to say, well, you made an exception here. So why apply to us?

I think Gaza now is like a microcosm of our new world disorder, of the breakdown of international norms, of the return of might is right. And I think that’s very dangerous, not just for our region, but for the entire world.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Recently President Biden, just about a month ago, warned Prime Minister Netanyahu that U.S. policy would change if Israel’s behavior and conduct in this war didn’t change. Do you believe the U.S. is starting to use the leverage you say it has?

QUEEN RANIA: Well, look, there’s definitely been a change in tone and language. And, you’re right, the president has been warning and has been trying very hard to persuade Netanyahu, for example, to not enter Rafah. But we’ve seen time and again Israeli officials not heading the warnings or counsel or advice of allies. So, I think it’s time that the international community, including the U.S., really used its political leverage to compel Israel to end the war and to let aid in.


QUEEN RANIA: And it’s – it’s by standing up for international law. Say, for example, the building of illegal settlements is – is wrong and it has to stop. It’s by saying that, you know, we are not going to provide you with offensive weapons. It’s by saying we’re not going to continue to use our veto to not hold Israel accountable when it breaks the law.

Diplomatic pressure is also very, very important. So, there are many tools that the U.S. has in order to compel Israel to do the right thing. And I think for the sake of our world, the U.S. may be Israel’s most closest ally, but a good friend holds a friend accountable.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You argue, people need to understand that Palestinian mothers love their children just as much as Israeli mothers. Why do you feel like that needed to be said?

QUEEN RANIA: Well, because, you know, for decades the dehumanization of Palestinians has been an intentional approach that Israel adopted in order to numb people to Palestinian suffering. It’s actually quite surprising to see just how deep the undercurrents of dehumanizations run. Arabs are generally accused of teaching hate and Palestinians as well, but it’s – Israeli have actually walled Palestinians out of sight and out of mind. It kind of reduced them to nameless, faceless security threats that you have to defend yourself against.

MARGARET BRENNAN: To see Hamas as representing Palestinian people, you’re saying, is wrong?

QUEEN RANIA: Absolutely wrong. And also just to – just to point out that most of the people alive in Gaza today were not alive when Hamas was elected. They were either children – they were not born or they were children at the time. So, absolutely Hamas does not represent the majority of Palestinians. And if Palestinians hate Israelis, it is not because of their religion or their identity, it’s because of the fact that they’ve only interacted with them as enforcers of a military state. They have only known them through their checkpoints and bullets and gun. It’s not something that’s inherently in them against Jewish people. In fact, I always try to remind people that, you know, we have coexisted, Christians, Muslims and Jewish people, for the longest time.

Well, you know historians will argue anti-Semitism has been present throughout history, right?


MARGARET BRENNAN: And it is hard for people to hear some of what you are saying and not react in that way where they hear a characterization of criticism of the Israeli government or the Israeli military and see where you’re separating from Jewish people.


MARGARET BRENNAN: A lot of people don’t hear a difference.

QUEEN RANIA: Anti-Semitism is absolutely present. And it’s – and it’s been on the rise. It’s been on the surge. And it is the worst kind of bigotry. It is pure hatred. And I always say that Muslims had to be – have to be at the forefront of fighting anti-Semitism because islamophobia is the other side of the same disease, and it’s also on the rise.

Judaism is a religion of peace. And the issue is, when you try to conflate anti-Israeli policy with anti-Semitism, right? Anti-Semitism is when you persecute somebody or you discriminate against somebody based on their Jewish identity. Israel is a state. It has political policy, political parties. So, in – you can criticize the state of Israel, but that’s not necessarily anti-Semitism.

So, when people stand up and speak against the war in Gaza, when they’re talking about the – you know, speak against the collective punishment, when you deprive people of food as a weapon of war, when an entire population is displaced, when there’s indiscriminate bombing, that is not anti-Semitism. That is speaking against Israeli policy. And I think it would be wrong to hold the Jewish community responsible for the actions of the – or the policies of Israel.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How are young people in Jordan thinking about this right now? I mean what is the sentiment in terms of the American unconditional support for the government of Israel?

QUEEN RANIA: I have to say, in one word, there’s outrage. You know, there is outrage because, you know, for most young people, even those who maybe were against American foreign policy or whatever, disagreed with it, we always looked up to the U.S., you know, as a country of – a democratic country with democratic values, with application of law, with freedom of speech, with, you know, human rights, et cetera. And as I said, you know, the young people are now feeling extremely disillusioned, how can this be happening while the U.S. is allowing it to happen, while the rest of the world is allowing it to happen?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the director of national intelligence in this country, Avril Haines, testified saying there will be a generational impact from the war in Gaza. And that was also a gesture to terror recruitment. How concerned are you that that is what may happen to some of these young people who you say are just inundated with images of what’s happening?

QUEEN RANIA: It’s not just the people who are on the extreme that are being enraged by this. It’s people who are in the middle as well, people who are westernized, people who studied here, people who – who are suddenly just looking at the world and saying, you know, they are so disillusioned. They’re saying, you know, clearly there are different standards that humanitarian law is applied selectively and that our lives don’t matter, and that it’s OK for, you know, almost 15,000 children to be killed, 19,000 to be orphaned. It’s OK for – for, you know, the infrastructure to be obliterated. It’s OK to use – to stop the delivery of aid and food to an entire population. That is collective punishment. It’s a war crime. And it’s happening. And so the young people are saying, you know, I guess the west doesn’t like us. So, in my opinion, this is probably one of the largest recruitment events that we’ve seen in recent history.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What you are describing is what Defense Secretary Austin warned Israel about, that you could have a tactical win and a strategic loss in the long term. That’s what I hear you saying, that you – this will lead to more terror recruitment.

QUEEN RANIA: Absolutely. Is this war making Israel safer? Is it making our world safer? You know, I would argue, after 35,000 people dead, after the obliteration of the civilian infrastructure in Gaza, after the violations of so much, after the rhetoric that we are hearing, you know, of – from Israeli officials, calling Palestinians humans animals or saying when the prime minister says that Palestinians are children of darkness, that they only understand the rules of the jungle, you know, when officials say we need to find a more effective way than death to afflict suffering on Palestinians, how is that making Israel safer? I mean, you know, how? Peace is not about politics only. It’s about people. Israelis are surprised when the word genocide is used because they cannot see Palestinians as anything but a security threat. That they deserve what’s happening to them. You know, in a poll asking –

MARGARET BRENNAN: They’re traumatized after October 7th. Many say this.

QUEEN RANIA: Absolutely, traumatized, I understand that. And I understand that because of my own background, that I would identify with the Palestinian side more. And I – because of that, I challenge myself every single day to put myself in the shoes of an Israeli mother who is – who has a child that’s been taken as hostage, or any young Israeli who has been taught and who’s heard of the horrible persecution that the Jewish people have had to endure in Europe. And I try to empathize and see where they’re coming from.

And absolutely, you know, we need the hostages to go home as soon as possible. And we need the war to end as soon as possible so the Palestinians can go back to their homes if they have homes left. So, I understand that what happened on October 7th was traumatic and devastating for Israeli society, but the reaction to it has not helped the situation. You cannot just rely on your – this visitor reaction of retribution and revenge. Israel could have retaliated through surgical strikes against Hamas, but that’s not what we’re seeing today.


MARGARET BRENNAN: The Biden administration is also expected to report to Congress by Wednesday whether or not Israel’s complying with international law in its U.S. of U.S. provided weapons and whether it is blocking U.S. aid.

You can see our full interview with Queen Rania on our website, facethenation.com, and our YouTube page.

We’ll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s it for us today. Thank you all for watching. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I’m Margaret Brennan.


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