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On the Home Front (with Brianna Keilar)

November 12, 2023
Notes
Transcript
For a special Veteran’s Day weekend TNL Sunday, Tim interviews CNN’s Brianna Keilar, whose husband is a Green Beret. They discuss what it’s like to be in a military family, the current partisan political divides within the institution, and much more.

Plus, Brianna talks about what it’s like to cover Donald Trump post-presidency and how she decides what stories about the aspiring authoritarian to cover.

Check out Brianna’s column, Home Front, here: https://www.cnn.com/politics/homefront

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:09

    Hello, and welcome to the Bulwark next level interview. I am your host, Tim Miller. I’ve got my friend Brianna Keeler today. She is the host of CNN News Central on from one to four Eastern Time. She has a column for CNN called Home Front a segment on the show sometimes that deals with issues facing military families and veterans.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:30

    This is personal to her. Her husband Fernando, she met with a green beret. She had their child while he was deployed. And so she kind of came into a military life and faced a lot of stuff that she just wasn’t familiar with and and wanted to learn more about and educate people more about, which I thought is so cool and so appropriate for a veterans day weekend podcast. We also obviously talked about Donald Trump and, other such issues.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:57

    So we get into a little politics a little media criticism, a little family, a little parenting talk, you’re gonna enjoy it. And then I think that we will be back on Wednesday with Sarah and JBL. For our usual political chatter. Make sure if you haven’t. I’ve been looking at the podcast comments.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:14

    I’ve been noticing. We’re we’re not getting as many positive reviews from you people. So new listener to this podcast, go on rate us, give us the five stars, review, you know, talk about how much better you like my takes and JBLs, Give us a little review. It helps us with the podcast ratings, check out this show on YouTube. Make sure you’re subscribed to the board to YouTube.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:34

    Up next, Brianna Keeler. It’s a great talk. Enjoy your veterans day weekend. But first, our friends at acetone. Peace.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:59

    Hello. Welcome to the Warwick’s next level Sunday interview. I’m Tim Miller. I’m here with my friend Breonna Keeler. I’m so excited CNN.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:07

    It is, veterans day weekend. We’re gonna talk about veterans issues because Brianna, if you’re an MSNBC viewer, you’re not a CNN viewer, that’s okay. But I’m telling you, I wanted to pick somebody from CNN that I could just suck up to and say they’re doing a great job of interviewing and everybody know that it’s not because, like, I’m angling for, you know, better slots on the show or anything like that. So I I’ve rehan on for that reason, and because She’s a military spouse and started the home front, you know, program vertical vertical column, what do we call it? A column?
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:37

    Yeah. Column.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:38

    At CNN, but I wanna start here. So the reason, this reason, we used to we used to hang out a little bit, you know, on the circuit in DC, I’d see you. And now, and back then, you were dating, political hacks, which was a mistake, which was your first mistake in retrospect. So, but this is not a dating show, so we’re not
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:53

    gonna Hey, this
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:53

    is how I haven’t even got talking. We’re not
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:55

    gonna do the low lights. I know. You’re not talking. I’m already talking about your exes. And then I guess at a bar, you met you met you met a green beret.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:03

    Is that what Is that what happened? This was after I moved. I, I leave and you’re just, where were you? Were you, were you at off the record? And there’s a green beret walks in?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:12

    No. It was actually, it was just sort of a random place near the White House. I was covering the White House at the time, and I met my now husband but I didn’t end up dating him. I actually tried to set him up with my friends.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:28

    Who?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:29

    People you would know, I’m not gonna name them because I’m not putting it all out there. Like, you are Tim. But it didn’t work out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:35

    You could I guess? Did I start guessing?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:38

    No. But I mean, you know them. So I tried, you know, tried to do some setting up. It didn’t take I really did not know him well. We were acquaintances, and he ended up deploying again to Afghanistan.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:52

    When he got back, I bumped into him around town in DC because he had some policy jobs in town. At the time I met him, he was working in a think tank, but later, he ended up working on the National Security Council. And, anyways, a few years later, we were both single, and we ended up dating and
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:10

    This happens you’re a child, and now you’re a military spouse, and you have a call
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:14

    about it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:14

    I got some too. So, we have two kids in our house, and it’s It’s crazy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:19

    It’s just a big change from our heyday is all I’m saying. I guess that’s where I wanted to start.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:23

    Proud of us.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:24

    I am proud of us.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:25

    I think about that. The first time I met you. Was it a bar, which makes, sounds like we went to a lot of bars.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:30

    We did. I did at least. I’ll speak
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:32

    for myself.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:32

    How far we’ve come?
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:34

    Yeah. I mean, I still go to a bar occasionally, but I gotta get home, pay the babysitter, you know, it’s like eleven thirty. You start thinking to yourself, is it really worth the next hour? You know, is this worth the extra twenty? I mean, I’m sure that the the babysitter will appreciate it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:47

    Anyway, okay. We we’re gonna do some of this at the back end. I wanna talk to you about basically two things. One both on the merits of them, but also the meta conversation about the media. And that is our friend Donald Trump, but also these military issues and kind of how we navigate them and and the military civilian divide and a lot of the stuff you’ve written about and covered for CNN.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:06

    But if you don’t mind, I would like to get the Trump stuff out of So so I’m gonna go to that first. Before I end, I think kind of a good way to kind of table set, you know, the the meta part of this conversation of, like, how we cover Trump, how we cover military issues. I thought it might be helpful for listeners to hear, like, how you decide what you cover at all. On the show. So so maybe you could just start there, like, what is your process, you know, when, yeah, and back when you’re doing new day, now you have the afternoon show, you know, how are you you know kind of working through, you know, what passes the bar as as being worthy of of the hour given, you know, all the stuff that’s happening there in our crazy world.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:44

    These days, it is not there’s never a slow news day. So it’s more what you can fit in. It’s more about, oh, gosh, what do we have to leave out? Right? There are some things that are just obvious, you know, developments in the war with Israel.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:59

    There was a debate last night. There were some obvious key moments that we’re going to discuss if there are legal developments with the former president Trump, we’re going to talk about those. We’re going to explain them and to, you know, put them into perspective and talk about how that might affect things. Lately, it’s more about what we can get you know, get in there, and sort of what gets on the cutting room floor.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:24

    But, I mean, when you’re trying to decide, you’re like, okay, what’s the f block? I mean, is it you got the producers or a call? Are you on a text? Are you are you going, hey, I just But
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:31

    we have a morning call?
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:32

    Yeah. We can’t get to I guess we just can’t get to Trump, you know, confusing Joe Biden for Barack Obama today, or I guess we can’t get to this issue or this embassy. Right? I like, whether it’s silly or substantive. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:43

    How how how do you navigate that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:45

    I don’t know. I mean, some of the little stuff, it it does strike me that things that would have made it in the show two years ago, four years ago, five years ago. Just won’t get in there. Yeah. If it’s sort of like an, oh my gosh, can’t believe he said that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:00

    You know, but what’s really the news value of it?
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:02

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:03

    That’s not as valuable as something that might really affect the race or that needs to be fact checked. That kind of thing. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:11

    Well, so this goes to kind of my trump question. So we have you did we’re taping this on on Thursday. It’s gonna air on Sunday. So we had this debate last night, which I didn’t despite the fact that I’m I’m a professional political pundit because in my view is like who cares, right? Like what is the what was the point of that debate?
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:26

    I guess we not at a point when you’re assessing what might affect the race. Might trump’s crazy comments at his rally in Hialeah actually be more relevant than that debate. I mean, when these guys are losing to them by forty points? I mean, how do you do that? How do you know?
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:42

    Like, do we have to talk about Tim Scott still? I mean, I guess it’s interesting that he brought his Canadian girlfriend on stage last night, but I and he’s at two percent. He’s losing by fifty.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:52

    Oh, like, I don’t think we’ll I don’t think we’ll be covering that today. Right? And I personally found that interesting and, you know, texted friends about it. Like, oh, that’s interesting. When it happened, because I did watch it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:04

    Sure.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:04

    I was
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:04

    like, oh, who was that’s interesting. I, that I missed something? And actually, I I was proud of myself that I hadn’t missed it, that I did recognize that was a new face. But, no, that’s not something that’s gonna be in there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:16

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:17

    When it comes to what Trump says, I mean, I think it’s important to know where his head is. So we listen to what he says, right, at his events. And if he’s going on a different direction or something, that’s important, we’re probably going to talk about it. I hear some people, we’re going to we’re going to fact check it. There’s this argument out there that you you hear it all the time where people will say, why do you even talk about what he says?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:43

    If if he is if something is a lie, Why do you put it out there? You’re just amplifying it? It’s going to be out there. And when you Google something, you know, It’s going to pop up.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:54

    Right. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:55

    Well, what else pops up? The fact check of it hopefully Yeah. That you did on your show. So that there’s sort of something. I mean, a lot of times we’re doing stuff on TV, but I am thinking of it in terms of doing it for perpetuity on the internet.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:11

    That when something is Googled later, that is sort of attached to the moment or the topic, and it’s something that will come up. That people will see. Not just, you know, when when they’re viewing. I like to think that our ratings are good, but that’s they’re not that many people at any given time, but people are on the internet. Pardon me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:29

    I’m I’m drinking kombucha because I’m on antibiotics, which I think everyone is right now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:33

    So I’ve
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:34

    gotta get my robiotic.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:35

    Get your kombucha. I I do think you’re maybe contributing to your brand as a liberal elite by drinking kombucha, but pop ups.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:42

    I mean, please I know, but I have to it’s kinda like it’s passion for it’s like a soda basically.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:48

    To sugary kombucha?
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:50

    Yeah. I don’t it’s not, you know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:52

    It is true. This is Naval Gaazy, right? That’s the nature of the business. I mean, obviously, like lots of people are watching CNN and and it’s not nothing, but still the people that need to hear the fact check are probably not watching daytime CNN. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:04

    You know, they’re, like, getting stuff through ephemera. And I do think this is what you’re saying. The stuff does live on the internet. The fact check is important. Maybe it when it comes across their TikTok fee.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:13

    Maybe they probably won’t Yeah. For being honest. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:15

    Or maybe somebody will mention it to them or somebody will be able to fact check it. I, you know, and I always use my LSU tailgate buddies is my kind of like normie judge of like what’s happening and occasionally they’ll mention something to me like why did Joe Biden put the flag at half staff when Soleimani died. And I’m like, that didn’t happen. Right? But so it’s nice.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:34

    Someone asked me, why does Nancy Pelosi proposing a one hundred percent income tax? Well, she isn’t. Yeah. But thanks for asking me since I’m a congressional correspondent.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:45

    Hey, don’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:46

    have this
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:46

    to do. But so here’s here’s Jake on the trump question, right? Cause I think this trump question is so hard. And I think a lot of times people are are living in twenty or maybe the answer to it was different than it is today when he’s already been the president. But, do you cover him do not?
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:02

    Right. There was a criticism in twenty sixteen. It’s like, you know, cables showing the empty podium. We’re waiting Trump to come. You know, maybe, you know, they’re showing these speeches for hours.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:11

    Jeb can’t get a word in edgewise. I think that that was maybe a legitimate critique then. Now, maybe the pendulum swings though, you know, tapering earlier this week said, you know, the degree to which the public is not really seeing the full trump is really remarkable. We’re not covering his rallies in the way that he used to and we used to. And I have to wonder if if that relates to his strength in the polls.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:31

    He was asking this question to some strategists, but obviously it’s not your guy’s job to to determine what affects the polls, but I do wonder if you think about that and think, well, You know, maybe we’ve gone too far the other way. Maybe people do need to see unfiltered crazy trump so they know what they’re gonna get. You know, rather than just dismissing it and saying, oh, he said the silly thing about whales in the ocean and, and like, well, you know, there’s serious stuff going on in Gaza. Why should we bring this up? Maybe do need to see it if he’s the if he’s gonna be the nominee.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:00

    Do you think they’re really not seeing it though? I mean, I agree with Jake that we’re kind of seeing less but he’s also busy. He’s got four particularly large pressing issues right now. Right? I mean, he’s got a lot of plate you know, being glib about it aside, serious things.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:16

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:17

    He’s got a lot of stuff taking up his time. I mean, this particular week, he was in court in Manhattan talking about something that we know does take up a lot of head space for him. So I think it makes sense. We’re not seeing so much of him, but he’s still out there, you know, he still communicates. You still see some of his unfiltered things you see his speaking appearances.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:42

    It’s not like that’s completely gone. I don’t know if the pendulum has swung the other way, I do think we’re a year out. And, you know, to the degree that Trump can sort of show some self control. We have seen
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:58

    with him deciding not to be in these debates that there’s a little bit of a do no
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:59

    harm approach you know, when he can pull that off. He’s pulling exceptionally well as the front runner.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:11

    Exceptually well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:12

    Which is why we should be paying attention to him.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:15

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:16

    You know, with a critical eye, but it’s also why he’s trying to preserve that advantage. Maybe that’s why we’re not seeing him as well, but there’s a lot of time left.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:26

    Remember in our glory days back when we were at the bar, in twenty twelve, Mitt Romney did a Gaffe. Do you remember this Gaffe? The forty seven percent Gaffe.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:34

    Oh, yeah. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:34

    Okay. That was that was pretty big one. It was big news. It was a mistake. I’m not saying it wasn’t a mistake.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:38

    Pretty dumb thing to say that that forty seven percent of America is not capable of, you know, making decisions for themselves because they’re on the tee to the government. Wasn’t it’s best moment. But, like, if you put the forty seven percent gaffe in the middle of a of Trump’s speech last night in Hyalia, It would not have made the show. It would not have made your show. Wouldn’t have made the network.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:59

    It wouldn’t even made the bulwark. We have trump derangement syndrome. Like, right? Like it would, you know, like he says so much crazy it all the time that it does just get glossed over. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:08

    And you’d wonder if Joe Biden, on the other hand, like if Joe Biden confused Donald Trump with Ronald Reagan. And he’s like, you know my opponent, Ronald Reagan. Like, there would be segments on CNN that’s like his Joe than losing it? Does he have dementia? Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:22

    And like Donald Trump does that, and it’s like, well, you can’t cover this. I mean, it’s like he says so much crazy shit. Like, so is there that, is there an imbalance? Like, how do you navigate that? How do you navigate what’s newsworthy for Trump versus what would be newsworthy for other guys or women?
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:35

    I mean, just to jump off of your example with the Biden thing. I think confusing him for Ronald Reagan would be I mean, that’s pretty
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:44

    Maybe an exam maybe a hyperbolic comparison.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:47

    Something like that, it would get covered both of them up in years.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:50

    But
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:50

    Trump does call Biden, Obama sometimes now. He calls Biden. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:55

    And that, but that to me is, I don’t know. It’s sort of like more adjacent.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:00

    A normal senior moment. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:02

    It was too yeah. Or just a normal person moment.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:05

    Yeah. Sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:05

    I can think of someone else that maybe, Biden could mistakenly mis- say the name or something. You know, this wouldn’t be as weird. But, yeah, I mean, I guess, I guess, if your point is that they are held to different standards. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:18

    Oh, and it’s not even really Biden. Trump is held to a different standard as everyone else. Well,
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:22

    that’s right. Because of, like, the extremity of his behavior.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:26

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:27

    And that’s why Joe Biden was elected because people expect something different from him. Right? And they decided they wanted something different. But that was a choice in itself that they were looking at the standard they wanted, and Trump didn’t fit it. And Biden did because obviously, look, there’s a cult of personality around Trump that there is not around Biden.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:47

    Right. And they still chose Biden. So I don’t know. I mean, I think that’s human nature. You know, think about how you deal with people in your life.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:55

    You invite people to thanksgiving. Your husband’s like pretty normal, but then you have like a really crazy uncle. Okay. Well, if your husband starts, you know, behaving like your crazy uncle at the table going to be more alarmed than what your normal crazy uncle behavior is. It’s just sort of human nature, I think.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:13

    Now that may not be fair, in politics. But I think it’s natural.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:18

    Yeah. Maybe.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:19

    It is human nature. It’s just it’s a little concerning when the crazy uncle is is winning in the polls in a landslide in the primary and and in the general now in the in New York Times and it’s like, I don’t know. Maybe maybe this false assumption that everybody already knows. These are crazy uncles, so there’s no point in in talking about it anymore. But I but people forget people have short memories.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:40

    I think people get obsessed with they start obsessing with Trump’s behavior as a person. I think that it’s an interesting exercise to look at what makes Trump appeal to people. There’s a reason why he does. Right? So what are their concerns?
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:01

    What are their concerns that they do not feel are answered by other Republicans? That they do not feel are answered by the kind of more traditional Republican party or the Democratic party. What’s not being answered? What shifts them towards that cult of personality. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:17

    What questions need to be? Like, and my perspective as a journalist is, okay. Well, they have valid concerns It is motivating their behavior. Questions need to be asked on behalf of that perspective. I think that’s really important.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:31

    I agree with that. And one thing that I’ve liked about your coverage and that’s my last meta kind of question about this, but, just like there’s balance in what to cover and what not cover. There’s balance in how to deal with these guys. Right? And and I think that sometimes you can be, oh, I’m gonna be on my high horse and moralize.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:47

    Right? And then sometimes you can be, oh, I’m just gonna kind of go along and act like this isn’t crazy. Like, both of those have their own problems and I think you’ve done a good job of balancing. Like, when you have somebody on your show of of just treating them like, okay. I’m gonna make sure what you’re saying is accurate.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:03

    Like, and we’re just gonna we’re just gonna focus on that, right? And we’re gonna focus on on what people’s concerns are and try to press them on that? Like how do you think about that? Obviously, you’re very thorough in prepping for these things get consider you sent me a memo for my own podcast this morning, which I
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:17

    Oh, Dallas,
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:17

    because I wanted you to know some of the military issues that I think people should know. Like, I mean, let’s be honest. Sometimes I know I’m going into interviews with people who may not be answering questions in good faith. Right? Let’s put it that way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:31

    You don’t say.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:32

    So I do a couple of things. Like, I’m I try my best to be very prepared and have a sense of where the interview is going to go. But I’d say, like, on those kind of interviews, that maybe are more interesting than other ones, like half of them kind of go off the rails. I don’t see where they end up going, and I end up throwing out my plan. So I’m prepared and ready to throw out the plan.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:02

    Because sometimes it’s taken in a direction I didn’t anticipate. And so I’m I’m like, alright, let’s let’s explore this. You know, okay, we’ll back it up. You know, what’s the evidence? And then sometimes I just know that something isn’t true, or it just it doesn’t pass the smell test.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:18

    You know? One
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:19

    thing that I think you’re really good at is I think they can get away with stuff just like throwing out random facts as they’re spitballing and and just you’re talking throwing out the plan, I remember interviewed it with, one of the Trump’s spokesman during the coronavirus time, right? Where he starts just kind of like, making some points about the other options like hydroxychloroquine and all this. And you’re like, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Let’s talk let’s talk about this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:39

    Like, Is that really something that we that the White House should be telling people that they should be doing? Right? And and and I think that’s like a good, you know, going into the micro. Is a good way to kind of deal with with these guys and they’re just throwing out bullshit.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:55

    If you have six minutes with someone, you cannot cover everything
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:58

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:58

    And I always believe that you are better off covering, you know, if you have, like, the foot of territory to cover, but you really can’t. You’re better covering like an inch of it really well. You know? You just are because this is cable news. We have all the time in the world.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:16

    You can have them on some other time to discuss something else.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:19

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:19

    But if you’re just kinda glossing over stuff and it’s really superficial. I think that that’s less helpful than really digging into something.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:27

    Okay. Okay. Last thing on trunk, because it relates to our other topic. This is usually the question people ask me as a former Republican. So I’m revelling getting to turn the camera on this, but like these reports of him you know, calling veterans suckers and losers, you know, the way he treated the, you know, blue star parent, the Oval Office.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:48

    Obviously, the McCain’s stuff. Like, have you just, like, both as a journalist, but also, you know, now as a military spouse? Like, have you been kind of surprised at how muted the reaction to that has been like what what do you think explains that? Like, this is all like we I just give three examples. I could give a nine.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:07

    Of stuff that were, I mean, to call it a third rail is kind of an understatement, things that were sacred in in the Republican Party. And it’s it just hasn’t had an impact on them. How do you how do you process that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:20

    How do I process it? I mean, I think to explain it, what’s clear is that a lot of his supporters, their allegiance to him, supersedes. I mean, we’ve seen it supersedes their allegiance to their family members. Right? We’ve seen it get in the way of relationships that previously were built on intense dedication and love.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:40

    So am I surprised that they dismissed like their ideas about patriotism? No. I’m not surprised by that. I also think it has to do with hardly anyone serves in the military. Hardly anyone is service connected.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:52

    This is the fiftieth anniversary of the all volunteer for what that means is that a very few serve. And so no one’s really connected to it. And so I think people have these, like, vague notions of patriotism and what it takes, I’ll be honest. That’s how I used to be. And then I married a green beret and I had my eyes opened very wide about what it means and what service members shoulder and what it takes to be a family member supporting that person.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:21

    And it in terms of, you know, Donald Trump, his biggest motivator has been for him is making money. That’s been the driving factor in his life. You know, it’s not an incredibly lucrative career in the military. It’s a career that takes incredible sacrifice?
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:38

    You’re not getting a jet out of this? You don’t have any
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:40

    I mean, you you’re not getting a personal jet. You might get a jet. It might be on a jet. But it’s you’re risking a lot. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:49

    You know, it’s not to be clear the most deadly profession by far. I think logging is, by far, but it’s that risk of doing something where you could die. And that is a wild thing if you really sit with that for a minute. So I just think that kinda goes against things that have motivated him through his life.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:09

    That’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:10

    That’s an understatement, but I will I’ll I’ll save the, the full trump TDS assessment of his, personality for a different, Secret Podcast. This is related though to the question about now the big news right now surrounding and military families and promotions is just what’s happening on Tuberville and the Senate. Do you make that connection there? Like, is this Has it not penetrated as much because he doesn’t have the cult that Trump does, right? Like, so has it not penetrated because of this military civilian divine?
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:43

    Or just the fact that other Republicans have been too cowardly to take him on until very recently with Dan Sullivan and and Lindsey Graham I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pretty surprised by how long this has gone on. And it’s crazy. We have we have multiple wars happening and we have all these folks that aren’t getting promoted. What explains the lack of salience of on us?
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:02

    So this started in February and the effects of Tuberville’s hold on, which is now I think almost four hundred general and flag officers, across the military. It’s not an immediate effect first off. So there was kind of a cushion for this really kicking in, and I think that gave Republicans a little bit of time couple things have accelerated it. One is, well, time’s up. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:32

    We’ve seen it trickle down the chairman of the joint chiefs, like we got to that deadline, and they moved forward with that and a couple other appointments. And then the marine Court commandant just had a heart attack.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:45

    Right.
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:45

    Well, he
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:46

    doesn’t didn’t have a backup, you know, and The guy filling in for him then also was doing two jobs. So it was like, what he’s responsible for for. But the big thing right now is there’s a a threat of this, war between Israel and Hamas becoming a larger regional war. You know, we were talking earlier about the strike on Iranian backed assets. Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:09

    And the the US has done and and it’s not gotten a lot of attention because it maybe it is just one little thing but I would be really surprised if it’s the last thing, and you’ve got all these US military assets mobilized in the region. And trust me, this is military families are feeling this. Because they’re either on alert or their loved one has been deployed now to do this just to be in the region to provide that kind of support to be deterrent effect to Iran. And so Republicans who are incredibly, you know, supportive of Israel are really starting to go, oh my god. This is not the time to have all these officers not in place.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:49

    That’s why they came out against him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:50

    Only back to tolerville, but this point on the on the proxy attacks, I think he’s so important. I I don’t know. I mean, I think that there has to be a lot of angst in military circles, active duty circles in particular about about this expansion. It’s something that’s kind of flummoxed me. I don’t I I don’t have a good answer to is why we’ve had now several attacks on, you know, you know, there’s one that’s been particularly, you know, successful, I guess, or however you wanna describe it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:15

    But, we we’ve had several attacks on military bases in the region now. It doesn’t seem like to me that this is gonna slow down, and it kind of has been downplayed a little bit by by the administration, and and it’s covered a little bit in the media. You guys have covered it, but What’s the feeling about this?
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:30

    I mean, I think we’re paying attention to it. I will say being a military spouse informs how I cover events. Because I’m keenly aware of it, just how it affects people on the human level. But I think what it comes to service members and military families, yeah, you know, your concern level sort of goes up, but also this is what people sign up to do. You know, they don’t sign up to join the military to just sit around.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:58

    There’s a reason why recruitment goes down when there are fewer conflicts. You know, sometimes people like you talk to them, there’s something going on. There’s some action to have. They they wanna know what that’s about. That’s sort of like an It’s a very unique experience.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:15

    They’re curious about it. If you’re not okay with that, you’re not joining the military. So it’s part of the reason why people are in the military So it’s just kind of baked into why you’re there. But obviously there’s concerns at the family level, obviously, and of course.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:29

    Yeah. I’ll I’ll need the underlying part of the Tuberville. Holds. You know, the the military is just so wrapped up in this in the culture war right now. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:37

    I’ve watched some of your interviews this morning about it like on CRT and on race related stuff and and now abortion and, you know, women serving, right, gay people serve trans people serving, like, like, all of this, you know, Talk Millley, you know, has been kind of the tip of the spear of this as, as being criticized. And that is kind of what is like underlying these these holds. And and so I just you you’ve done reporting on this in interviews. There’s maybe misogyny to this, or is it just culture war? I I mean, just talk about like practical elements of like what is the whole reason for this?
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:11

    You know, having women having access to care.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:16

    Well, okay, those are a lot of things. I will I’ll I’m gonna take this a couple things for a time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:19

    Take whichever one you want out of that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:21

    Very specifically about Tommy Tuberville. Let’s just clear, Tommy Tuperville has an issue with the abortion travel policy of the US military, which by the way is not used by that many people but the Biden administration feels that it sends a signal to people. If you live in a state where you cannot access abortion services, they’re not paying for abortions, they’re paying for travel of a service member or a dependent to go and get one if they need it. Republicans who oppose this will say, Hey, just fungible. You shouldn’t even be paying for them
  • Speaker 4
    0:28:50

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:50

    To travel. And, you know, this is very popular with Tommy Tuberville’s constituents, in a lot of Republican constituents who are anti abortion. The issue with Tommy Tuberville is that he lacks some basic knowledge about the military. If you have an issue with a policy like this, this isn’t something that these admirals and these generals came up with. This was the Biden administration, these civilian oversight of the military, which is I mean, I think and it’s like a it’s a hallmark of the American military.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:19

    It keeps things very stable. And it’s kind of a special thing in America. So you have a beef with one of their policies. You address it with the civilians overseeing the military. I don’t actually know if Tommy to Tommy Tuberville Vacs base acknowledged about the military.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:36

    He’s shown this consistently He taught him fuses like space command with space force. He needs some information. I don’t know if he’s interested in getting it. He seems right now, to have gotten a lot of attention, and he doesn’t really seem to care. Wrapped up in sort of this idea of like Wocus or liberal policies.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:55

    Yeah. I think this does sort of speak to something that some Republicans would say, yes, this sort of this is part of how the military is woke.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:04

    That’s where I was going, right? Is in a different time, you know, where the military was just not so wrapped up into our culture war. Even on an issue like abortion, there’s been, you know, long held important issue among Republican politicians, you know, this kind of assault on military readiness and all this. It just would have been totally that’s not not acceptable. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:24

    Like, just because of of the the sacred nature of which Republicans have have treated the military historically. But, like, that has changed over the last few years. I think it’s created like an opening for this. Right? Like, there I think there just is this sense that Oh, the military is a place where this social experimentation is happening.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:43

    You know, the military is getting women are serving gays are serving. Right? And I think that, you know, now we’re paying for people to go travel, to get abortions. The next thing you know, we’re gonna try to pay for people to go you know, get top surgery. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:56

    Like, there’s, like, this hostility towards the military that’s coming from the right, right, which is kind of a new which is kind of a new thing that is like open the door to this. Like, I I guess I’m just curious on your perspective of, is that something that is happening like just in the political realm, the families that you interview? Like, is that something you’re seeing from the bottom up when you’re talking to to families?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:18

    There is a lot of buy in from those in the military who are conservative. The the military, you know, when you control for different aspects of where people come from, their age, education level, how much money they make, right? And, religion, race, ethnicity, these kinds of things, you’re actually going to see a reflection of American society. So what you see in American society, you are going to see in the military. Yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:46

    There are people in the military and the military who love the military, but feel that it is being sort of overtaken by awoke sort of ideology, you know, DeIs is a bad word. They don’t want any of that going on. And, you know, when Tommy Tuberville is criticized for these holds and saying, why are you doing this when the military is having a recruitment crisis, and he’ll say, it’s not about this. It’s about the World military. That’s why there’s a recruitment crisis.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:13

    No, that’s not why there’s a recruitment crisis. There’s a recruitment crisis because increasingly most people are not even eligible to serve. You have a full labor market. When people see stories about the military, which I personally think is a wonderful calling but that there are a lot of challenges to be in a service member. What do they see?
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:33

    Sexual assault, right? Lots of health issues, toxic exposure, a lot of sacrifice. This is not a casual profession. And so those are challenges and those are the things that are creating a recruitment crisis. But the truth is you need women.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:48

    It’s not like a nice thing to have women in the military when only like less than a quarter of Americans even candidates to join the military, and then half of those people, guess what? They’re women. Half of that quarter is women. So you need to make, in a place where women can work. I think that what you’ve seen with this, it’s not just political, it is in practice, and I think that it is it’s a reaction.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:13

    You know, there’s sort of this there was me too, and we’ve seen a reaction in the civilian world. There was, Bulwark Lives Matter and sort of that whole summer of racial reckoning, and you saw that play out as well in the military and you saw military leaders at the time actually get a lot of, you know, they really sort of led on that, and they talked about how racism was playing out in the military and things needed to change. We saw this stuff about the confederate, names of bases and that kind of thing. There has been a transformation of that And now you’re seeing a reaction.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:50

    Oh, no. Actually, it’s a competitive races before I forget. I have another theory about the recruitment crisis, by the way, which is not, which goes against my you know, kind of bush era political views. You have to assess reality. I mean, if you’re nineteen right now, you’ve lived a world where every military thing that we’ve done has been a disaster.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:07

    Right? Like, Iraq was a disaster. Afghanistan was less of a disaster, but pretty bad. The exit from Afghanistan was a disaster and ugly. And so it’s like, why am I signing up for that?
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:18

    You know what I mean? Why am I signing up for this? So there has to be accountability to further politicians and the military leadership that, like, why isn’t recruitment happening? I don’t think it’s because they’re scared of woke stuff. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:28

    No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:28

    No. I would agree with you, but also you had a whole generation that signed up after Vietnam.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:33

    That’s true.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:34

    Right? Although honestly Vietnam, like, for what a sort of abysmal war that was, it was so short compared to Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:45

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:45

    It’s like wild to think about it, but also nine eleven was incredibly inspirational for people reacting to that and wanting to go fight. So you did have that, which I think factored in for people in Vietnam didn’t. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:58

    Yeah. Galvanizing. Anyway, but just one more thing, because you talked to this you had a great interview with congressman Walt, while I was watching this morning, In addition to the recruitment issues, you’re talking about women, you know, it’s a diversifying country. Right? Like, and the a number of young people It’s just they’re just more black and brown people that that would be qualifying.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:18

    Right? And it kind of surprised me when you’re doing that interview.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:21

    I’m married to one of Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:22

    There you go. Like, one thing that I didn’t know I didn’t know. It’s just like, Robertie Lee’s name is all over West Point. Right? Like, this is just one example Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:31

    And then you have VMI and, like, there are others. And it’s like, I don’t know. I could see how that would be an impact for a young black kid. That’s like what? Like, I don’t I don’t wanna live in the Robertie Lee dorm.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:41

    Yeah. Sorry.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:42

    The Robertie Lee Baricks. I asked my husband, Fernando. Fernando. Okay. Did you live in the Robert Ely Barrett at West Point?
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:50

    I don’t think he did. But as an example, military service tends to be siloed in families if your Mother or father serve, you are more likely to serve. There tends to be a little bit of like a southern tradition in it. That’s the sort of family silo kind of runs through the south. My husband’s from Texas are kids, right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:09

    So my stepson is black and Hispanic. Our young’s younger son is Hispanic and white. And especially when I think, you know, my stepson idolizes his dad. And I the chance that he would go into the military is higher
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:25

    college or stepson. Seven.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:27

    So the chance that he would go into the military is higher, maybe. You know? It it’s he just idolizes my husband. And I think about him, okay, my husband went to West Point, and I think about my stuff’s ongoing, and I’m thinking Really? Is he gonna walk, like, under Robert Elee Gate for stay in Robert Elee Barrick’s?
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:47

    Oh, that’s odd, and he’s not going to. I don’t believe because I think there’s it’s very much in the works that a lot of these things are, being eliminated, properly attended West Point. But yeah, there’s you you may not know it, but there and there’s this whole thing going on right now in the military where they are getting rid of a lot of Confederate names Fort Bragg is now Fort Liberty. Interesting. They did not rename it after someone else.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:13

    They renamed it after a concept. But Ford Hood in Texas is Fort Cabazo, so it was named after someone.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:20

    I don’t think the German kids are going to, you know, himmler Himmler barracks. Like, you know, I just I think that there’s some some basic things we we can we can change about that. I I wanted to move to the home front stuff. You’ve been talking about your husband. What I’m most curious about is that this was a change for you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:37

    Right? Cause you did have military family in your background. But still. Right? Like, it is
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:43

    Not like that I experienced the life though.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:45

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:45

    By the time I was, like, an age to remember things, my dad was my dad was in the Australian Navy. I was like two when he got out. I don’t remember.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:53

    Hold on. Let’s just quick pause. Is the Australian Navy like a thing? I mean, do they do they have boats What do they what do they have down there, Jeff? They they got ships, Australia.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:02

    You got your own ships. Really? That’s pretty nice. Like our old ships that we give to?
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:09

    No. We have their own.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:11

    Okay. Wow.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:11

    You know the trillion US, you know this whole thing, the Australian US military alliance is like a big deal for trying to see. Anyway I’m
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:19

    just kidding. I I kind of had forgotten before I was doing this that your dad was Australian. Do you ever think about as we’re as we’re staring down the barrel of a twenty twenty election repeat? Do you ever think that maybe you and Fernando and the fam should just, like, relocate to Cambra. Does that ever come through?
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:35

    This
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:36

    morning, Cambra? If I was gonna relocate, it would probably do another city. But, no, I’m not going to. I mean, Tim, I’m sticking around. I know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:44

    I know. I know you love America, but I just know, it’s just just I I kind of forgot that. But it’s a different life, right? So, like, what was the biggest eye opening wake up call? Like, what was the first thing that you’re like, oh, shit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:54

    Like, I didn’t consider that this was gonna be Oh,
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:57

    well, there was a big one of those. First off, I thought Fernando was kinda done deploying. And then he wasn’t.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:07

    Was that a was that a communicator? Is that maybe an intentional communications, during the dating?
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:14

    Okay. So it’s in a way in a way I understand this, like, in TV news as an anchorite operating contracts that are generally like two or three years. And when you’re in the military, you operate in, you know, assignments, like bullets, and they’re generally two or three years. So you never know what you’re going to do. You could go work at the Pentagon.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:33

    He was kind of up in years in his career when I married Amy was Lieutenant Colonel. And he’d been in combat for years at that point.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:42

    Where where was the incumbent?
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:43

    Before we were together, like, when I when we got married, he was here in Washington, DC. But before that, it was Iraq and Afghanistan, and initially he was part of, seventh group Special Forces, which is based in Spanish speaking countries. So he was in Columbia that was like his first real kind of big deployment with anti farc forces, helping like Columbia special forces. So, It kinda seemed like maybe that was done, like he was gonna be a desk job kinda guy. Well, you know what?
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:15

    That’s not what happened. All of a sudden, he was shipping out to the Middle East, and he had been gone for, I don’t know, like a week and change. And I found out I was pregnant.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:29

    Well, that’s, I guess, good. I guess it’s better that you’re pregnant before.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:33

    No. That was great. As I was listen, I was no spring chicken, so I was very happy to be pregnant. But it was just all of a sudden a very different deployment. I was going to be alone through practically an entire pregnancy and I was caring for my stepson on my husband’s custodial time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:52

    So now I’m, you know, you’re
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:53

    also on television. Were you on the morning show then? Were you on New Day? When was when was
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:58

    No, I wasn’t. I don’t think I could have done that honestly. No, I was anchoring the I was anchoring no, I wasn’t. I wasn’t anchoring the afternoons. I was like in between things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:08

    And then I just found that I was confronting things. I didn’t know that I would have to. You know, I was like a little worried about him even though maybe in didn’t really need to be all that worried about him, but there’s just sort of unknown. Like, a lot of the work he would do, I’m not privy to details of it. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:23

    I would worry about things. I’m mostly it’s just the logistical challenges of being alone in like at home life during a deployment. The weird thing too was I was like thirty seven I think at the time and I’ve been at CNN for a long time. I’ve been here for over ten years I had a really established friend group and all of a sudden it just wasn’t cutting it. Like, everyone, I’d felt very much on the same frequency as everyone, and Now I’m going through something that mostly everyone around me cannot identify with, and I was feeling incredibly lost, and it was then that I kind of plugged into the military family community.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:03

    But I was almost like embarrassed by how little I had known about what it took just to get through this process.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:10

    I’m sure, insulin, are you plugging in with the military spouse community? It’s like you and a bunch of twenty three year olds? Or like, well No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:15

    I actually so here, of course, that is, you know, there are twenty three year old mostly military spouses, but there’s also like a ton of military spouses, my age, and generally they had had their kids younger than me. Which was a blessing for me because then they would like I would tell my civilian friend stuff and maybe like that’s insane and then I tell like a military spouse friend whose kids were like a little older and they were about my age and they were professional women who were holding down jobs and have been through deployments. And they’d be like, yeah, no, that’s normal. And just hearing someone say like, yeah, that’s totally normal. Oh, he said he was gonna maybe get out of the military?
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:49

    Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. You know, just that kind of stuff. Like it’ll be a few more years. He’s just warming up the idea of it or something. You know, just the stuff they would tell me would be like, oh, okay, great.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:59

    Thanks. Thanks for like Just setting expectations is really helpful.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:02

    Life planning may be a little different.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:04

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:09

    Okay. If this is to if this is to, you know, if I’m I’m getting digging too deep here, you can just let me know, but I I’m curious. So you have a son, right? And it’s like he’s gone for all this time. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:18

    You have to parenting. It’s like that is something you have to deal with. Obviously, very unique for you, but other families have to deal with. Right? Like you’ve got like how the kids deal with having a dad gone for so long.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:30

    Yes. And you got dumped in the deep end on that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:33

    So important and families make different decisions about this. Like, I mean, I’ve heard people make all kinds of decisions. A mom who had a baby in the navy, who’s a friend of mine, decided basically to deploy her to go to training when the baby was only six weeks old and she was trying to get something out of the way in retrospect it was not a good idea. When my stepson was my husband deployed my stepson was about eighteen months old, and it actually it was like a year and a half old. And it turned out to be fine.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:01

    He was actually capable of he, you know, he wasn’t super verbal, but he was he liked to show daddy that he was walking the dog. And he would talk to him on the iPhone and he would draw pictures for him, and they didn’t miss a step. Right? They really didn’t. But then the next time my husband deployed, was shortly after our youngest, who is five now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:26

    He was only, like, I wanna say he was like a few months old, five months old, something. And so he was really gone from, like, right I think when I feel like they start being able to see your face for like another year, roughly. I’m being rough about this. And that was tough. I mean, they he was such a llama’s boy, and it took a long time for them to rebuild whereas with our other child, it was just so easy for that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:54

    One of
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:54

    the other things you sent me that, like, I hadn’t, like, I’ll just, like, I’m, I’m like you. I I feel I’m, like, embarrassed. Sometimes by my lack of military knowledge. I at least own it. I was, you know, at least in Republican campaigns, there was always military guys around.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:08

    So I could always know, if something came up, I could always be like, I’m calling John Noonan. He could he could tell me what, you know, so I don’t sound like an idiot on this interview. But, you know, one of the things you sent me that I just didn’t even think about is, like, employment for people for the spouses, for the family members who are back home. Like, it is, it’s just so hard, right? Because, you know, you’re talking about how in your personal experience, it’s like, Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:32

    It’s kind of hard to plan everything because it’s like I thought he might be done and and then he gets sent out again and and there’s a short window for dealing with that but you’re in a career, right? For people that are getting sent around to different places. Some of these bases, let’s be honest, are not exactly in areas that are, you know, economically thriving. Yeah. You know, that’s something that I hadn’t even really, like, kind of considered.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:53

    Like, when did that, like, pop up on your radar and you’ve done some some reporting on that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:57

    As soon as I sort of got into the military family community and started at reporting
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:03

    on the issues that affect them, that
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:03

    was the first one that popped because military spouses have
  • Speaker 4
    0:46:08

    depression level, depression era level unemployment. And you can draw a line from that
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:09

    to so many
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:11

    ills
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:16

    in military family life, food insecurity, which is it’s kind of embarrassing. You know, it’s just ridiculous how are military families like not able to have enough food? It’s like, crazy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:27

    I can oh, it’s all it’s so crazy. It’s almost like, is that really real? Like, you’ve talked to people. You’ve talked to people. Oh,
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:31

    my god. Well, the thing is, listen. It’s true. Oh, we’re just tired of these statistics are out and there’s even cleared ones that were just released this week. It’s like during the pandemic, one in eight military families was accessing a food bank.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:43

    These are families. These are people who’ve actually been in the military. Think about that time where you’d only have the service member earning and then maybe you have two or three kids and you’ve started to climb up the ladder. So you have an income, but now you have more mouths to feed and a lot of expenses. As we know, like having small kids is so expensive.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:04

    And
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:05

    Moving is expensive.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:06

    Moving is expensive. And they end up paying stuff out of pocket. And so now you’re just at that childcare is expensive if you’re gonna, you know, and so there’s just a point where there’s like a almost like a doughnut hole for a lot of families. So the employment part also military spouses, like, they tend to be more highly trained and educated then they’re cohorts, then they’re civilian cohorts. It’s not like they’re some people, they’re sort of like a meme about military spouses, and it’s completely unfair because writ large, they’re, like I said, with the education and the training.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:42

    They’re really quite a valuable source for people looking to employ them, but they also move every two to three years. So if you are in a you’re thinking, oh, do I want to hire this person who’s moving in two years? There’s always legislation going through Congress trying to maybe put in a tax incentive, but that needs to pay for. That means that cost money. So it’s hard to attach it to something and it always kind of fails.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:04

    There’s another one right now that Senator’s Boosman and, Cain have put up, but I don’t know if it’s gonna pass. Like, it never passes. But eventually, maybe it will, you know? It’s just really a shame, you know, and they’re such great employees because they manage so much stuff. I mean, you can train someone to do anything.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:25

    But it’s like getting an employee who gets to have done without complaining, you know, can actually multitask and just take care of everything. That’s that’s an amazing set of just skills to bring to a job.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:37

    Okay. Last thing for you to rapid fire is your first veterans day with your size. It’s finally a veteran. It’s official. He’s not going back out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:43

    Or it’s Janda? Okay. That’s great. Curious what the reentry What’s that like? You know, is ever as hard as the separation is?
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:51

    Is there ever a time where he’s like, alright, you know, I could use one more deployment? Like, The reentry has to be a little bit challenging for military families too. Uh-huh. As veterans issues, like, as you’re reporting on this, like, what is the thing that’s coming to the top, top concern? For those families right now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:06

    So, reentry is really hard because it’s like the end of, an identity in a way. We went through an adjustment as my husband was getting out. It was not only adjustments and understatement, not so it’s just not so fun. They’re like grapple. It’s like in a way it’s like losing a job or retiring.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:23

    You’re just it’s a really hard discussion. So through that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:26

    You go is wrapped up. Right? Like, you, like, you, you, especially, I think. Oh, for sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:29

    But also, like, you know, like, you’re, if you’re, like, important and you’re doing something exciting, and then all of a sudden you’re like,
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:36

    you need
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:36

    it. You
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:37

    know, like, you really need it. And that’s, like, you know, I’m gonna go to grocery store today. And, like, sometime, I could totally see, like, mental health, like, how are you getting out of bed? Right? You’re like, I don’t wanna go to bed.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:47

    What’s the point?
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:48

    And even coming back from deployments, it’s called reintegration. It’s a serious thing. You have to, you know, like, from the very beginning, we got a couples counselor before he ever deployed because I knew I’d read about it and I was like, oh, this sounds like a disaster. We better get prepared. It was like the best thing we ever did.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:06

    You know, it was so good. It’s gotten us through so many ups and downs.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:09

    I’m just imagining in my head, right? Like you’re like doing your super prep like, I got a big interview today. I gotta on the show at one, and he’s, and you’re like, what are you up to? And it’s like, well, I’m gonna go to Bed Bath and Beyond. I gotta go to Home Depot, you know, and, like, That’s nice for, like, a week.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:24

    And then it’s, like, oh,
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:25

    he’s getting a few I know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:26

    I know he’s gonna understand. I know he’s gonna understand what to do. I’m just saying, you know, they’re days. Right? Like, there were that imbalance.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:31

    Like, you go from this one thing that’s so weighty to stuff that yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:36

    Totally. And look, I he likes to he likes being out and about. You know? So, wait, what was the other thing you asked?
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:43

    Okay. I’m sorry. I I just, on the reporting side, like, what I the packed x has passed, but is there other things that are like below the radar that just are like the veterans families that like come to the top when you’re when you’re interviewing them when you’re going to the blue star? Events, like,
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:59

    you know?
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:59

    Employment is a big one. Yeah, like finance financial stuff is a big one. But also health is a big one. The pact Act right now, you’ve got almost forty percent increase in VA claims. So it’s like a record over fiscal year twenty twenty three, and that’s because of the passage of that toxic exposure act.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:22

    So you’ve got a lot of people who are actually starting to get treatment for stuff. That we’re getting it before. That’s good news. It also means you’ve got a VA that’s responding to that. That’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:33

    interesting. I hadn’t thought about that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:34

    So that’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:34

    a big challenge. Mental health is big. This is one that just really I’m always thinking about because people who serve, my observation has been that Look, this is a stressful life. And I think people all I think people of all stripes, you know, know about mental health, they know about mental health challenges that come about because of situational things. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:58

    You have like a tough six months at work. You end up depressed. You have anxiety or something. What do you do? You get a counselor, maybe you get on some meds for a little while or short term, and you’re fine, you know, like you just throw some resources at it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:11

    That doesn’t happen in the military as much. You can’t, a lot of times, you know, I think there’s this reticence to seek help because there’s a feeling, and I think it’s founded that it’s going to affect your career. That becomes something that is in practice, and then that becomes something that is adopted as a culture that carries over to veterans, not seeking the help they need until they are extremely in crisis. And you see there’s a suicide crisis with veterans. There’s also an issue with service members as well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:43

    And the military needs to do more. They’re trying to do more. It’s linked also with sexual assault. The mill it’s terrible. The numbers on sexual assault.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:51

    It’s like that problem. They keep every they try to solve it and it just gets worse. And they’re now trying to fix things at bases and places that are training facilities that are most impacted So they’re trying. They are trying, but we’re seeing these things really
  • Speaker 3
    0:53:05

    affect them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:06

    Sure. Tony Tuberville’s holds are really helping solve all or helping resolve all those issues. Having fewer people. I’m sure is is helping. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:13

    I wanna get to rapid fire. Last thing, you you’re involved in a lot of groups. So before you get to rapid fire, just, is there anything for folks veterans day, wanna contribute, wanna volunteer, wanna donate, is there anything you wanna shout out?
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:25

    I mean, just a number of, like, veteran service organizations and military family organizations. Full disclosure, I’m on the board of Blue Star families, but it does great work, it’s the leading military family organization, but for veterans, personally, I donate to IAVA, Iraq, and Afghanistan veterans of American America. That’s a personal choice because I live with a veteran of those, warrants and I love taps. I do a lot of work with taps. They assist Gold Star families.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:54

    But there’s a lot of great organizations. So I do not, you know, those are just, a few that that I am closely associated with and appreciate their work.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:04

    Rappify. We’re gonna get you back to your job. I usually ask people the first rapid fire question is usually what people have changed their mind on as they’ve grown up, so you can take that if you want. But I’m also interested in like What about your view of the kind of military life has changed since it’s become so personal?
  • Speaker 2
    0:54:20

    My view of the military life I think I would just say this. It has taught me about how you can be proud to be part of something. And also how you can see the problems in it. And you know, want things to improve. I’ve been a proud I have to use the past tense.
  • Speaker 2
    0:54:43

    I’ve been a proud military spouse. I do a lot of stories about things that to be improved in the military. And, I think that’s actually like a service. Maybe that’s part of my patriotism.
  • Speaker 1
    0:54:54

    That’s really important. Great. One one idea for bridging the civilian military divide. We didn’t really get into that. Do you have any?
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:00

    It is so stark.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:02

    Yeah. When less it’s like a fraction of one percent of people serve, so it’s not that many people connected. Listen, I think If you know someone who’s connected to the military, ask questions, you know, and just inform yourself. You’re paying for this Americans. That’s my thing always.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:20

    It’s like, this is so expensive. This defense budget. You’re invested in it literally. You know, this is what so much of taxpayer dollars go for. It’s really important to pay attention to What you’re spending your money on?
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:37

    Do you watch any other news anchors out there? CNN or otherwise you think, man, that person’s doing it really well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:42

    Yeah. Jake Tapper does a lot of stuff. You mean, on like that on stuff?
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:45

    I know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:45

    I was moving on to general, but sure if you can take in a
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:48

    Oh, general. I love a lot of this. I love well both things.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:52

    Maybe we should change this question because you’re gonna get in trouble with your CNN colleagues. All of your CNN colleagues are great. Do you look across at other networks or other, you know, reporters? And you think, man, their that interview style is really good. Or that you know, that the way that they’re covering this I think is is good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:11

    Have you, you know, tried to model yourself after anybody?
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:14

    Shout out to Jennifer Griffin.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:16

    She does so good.
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:17

    I just not I don’t know that I necessarily model. I just appreciate her backbone.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:22

    I totally agree with that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:23

    I appreciate Cara Swisher’s interview style. In that she brings like a familiarity, but there’s no, like, sucky upness about her. Like, you know, if you’re doing an interview with her, you better watch out. But she’s also can be, you know, like there’s a friendliness about it, but I’ll, like, watch out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:41

    Great pick. We got Scott Galloway on this pod next week. So her her little partner,
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:45

    and she’s great. So maybe
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:46

    we’ll get maybe Kara. You’re next. Okay? You’re on the list.
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:49

    He’s great. And I also have friends other places who I really like them, but I feel like I can’t pick my friends. Like, you can’t
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:56

    just You can if you want. You can pick a friend. We don’t need to. We don’t, we probably go down at this point on this podcast enough. We don’t, he doesn’t need any more love, but, but he he’s been really good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:57:07

    Dream interview. Do you have one? Do you do you have somebody that you haven’t done? That you wanna get?
  • Speaker 2
    0:57:12

    When you interview? I know I should ask you. You don’t have one.
  • Speaker 1
    0:57:15

    You’re just like whatever. Sorry. You’ll do it. You’ll just you’ll just you put them up know, you put it on the tee and you’ll knock it, you know, you know, it, you know, it doesn’t matter. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:57:23

    Okay. Well, last one is, I I’ve I’ve now left Washington. You’re now a parent. So I I think that the kind of hunts that we would go to are different, but I’m looking for now advice. I’d I’m I’m back in DC next week.
  • Speaker 1
    0:57:36

    Like, do you have a favorite restaurant, a favorite bar, somewhere I should go, somewhere to take a kid? You know, you have to have Oh, to do anything. No. Anything. Anything.
  • Speaker 1
    0:57:45

    I just I’m I’m Like, I’m out, but DC changes so much. Like, I was in town a couple months ago, and I’m, like, at the waterfront or whatever they call it now. Where the, you know, where the new politics and prose is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:57:56

    That’s where you gotta take. That’s where you have to take your daughter. That’s great. Because you can take her to like hanks on the wharf.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:03

    Hanks on the wharf. Yeah. Uh-huh. That’s so cool. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:06

    There’s so many great places on the wharf. You can go with kids. And, oh, but do you know where I went recently? It was so strange. This place felt strange and cool.
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:15

    A Quebecwa.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:16

    Quebecwa. Quebecois.
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:20

    It is a poutine, and, it’s a disco bar. It’s just the weird Where? North Adams Morgan. And I really mean like north of the strip.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:30

    Got it. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:32

    I do not. Like I hardly go out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:33

    I sometimes stay at that hotel at the top of the strip when I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:36

    cooked at home. My my pandemic superpower was making craft cocktails, and I just kinda got and I have friends with kids so, like, I invite them over on a Friday. Everyone pieces out at seven, and that’s to put her kids to bed. Like, lame. It’s so good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:51

    It is lame. It’s a lonely world. I we I got my first kindergarten report card. Today. And I’m just like, it’s a whole new life.
  • Speaker 2
    0:58:58

    Do you get behavioral reports, or is that just me?
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:01

    My child is is well behaved. So I am getting behavioral reports, but it’s all thumbs up. Not not not what’s happening. I don’t think I have any tips to give. I definitely I think it is my husband.
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:12

    I was like, you’re lucky that you got one of your, you know, he’s a rule of I was like, these were not the behavior reports my parents were getting. So I’m very pleased and I get no credit, and it’s just all a blessing. Brianna, thank you so much for spending all this time with me. You are great. I wish I could come on your show anymore, but, you know, I have a contract now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:30

    But one of these times, we can do this again.
  • Speaker 2
    0:59:33

    You come. I’ll take you to this poutine place that one of the youngs here at work took me to.
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:40

    Need to know, steward students. I always have to think about that because he’s, like, if things get, if things get really hairy in the next trump term for never trumpers, you know, if they are opening up Guantanamo for Like, I got a place in Quebec City. So, you know, maybe I need to go to the cave at Quaw place to test it out. It’s gonna see what the food’s gonna be like.
  • Speaker 2
    0:59:55

    I mean, if a lifetime
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:57

    of eating that Anyway, Brianna, thank you so much. I very much appreciate you. We’ll be talking.
  • Speaker 2
    1:00:03

    Thanks, Kim.
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