'This Week' Transcript 4-7-24: Chef José Andrés & White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, April 7.

ByABC News
April 7, 2024, 10:02 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, April 7, 2024 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.


ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.



ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This week's horrific attack was not the first such incident. It must be the last.

RADDATZ: Six months since October 7th, a major shift by the U.S. after an Israeli air strike kills seven aid workers in Gaza.

JOHN KIRBY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER: If there's no changes to their policy, then there's going to have to be changes to ours.

RADDATZ: This morning, the founder of the World Central Kitchen speaks exclusively to ABC News.

Do you believe at this point that they were deliberately targeted, your aid group?

His plea to President Biden.

JOSE ANDRES, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN FOUNDER & CHEF & RESTAURATEUR: You can be a friend of Israel and at the same time you can be telling your partner in the Middle East, you cannot be conducting war in such a way.

RADDATZ: And his calls for accountability.

ANDRES: IDF has a lot of questions to asking themselves. What exactly are they there for?

RADDATZ: An emotional conversation with Chef Jose Andres. Plus, the White House response from spokesman John Kirby.

And –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will never forget those that fell, that made the ultimate sacrifice. But we can't forget about each other either.

RADDATZ: Twenty years after the siege of Sadr City in Iraq, we reunite with the soldiers who fought and honor those who died. A story of war and family I have reported on for decades.

Plus, we'll look at the science behind the spectacle in the sky, one day ahead of the eclipse across America.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK. Here now, Martha Raddatz.

RADDATZ: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK.

Today marks six months of the war in Gaza. Six months since the horror of October 7th and the deadly terror attack on Israel that killed more than 1,200 Israelis with more than 100 hostages still believed to be held by Hamas.

It's also been six months of Israel’s devastating response, causing widespread destruction across Gaza and taking the lives of more than 33,000 Palestinians according to the Hamas-run health ministry, and leaving the territory on what the U.N. has called the brink of famine.

But it was the loss of seven aid workers this week that seemed to galvanize a new level of outrage. These seven individuals from around the world including one dual American-Canadian citizen working with the relief group World Central Kitchen, killed by repeated drone strikes of their clearly marked convoy, despite the group having coordinated their location and movements with the IDF.

World Central Kitchen was founded by renowned chef turned philanthropist Jose Andres. His organization providing meals around the globe in the most dire circumstances, from the aftermath of natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, to war zones from Ukraine to Gaza, where World Central Kitchen has served millions of meals to Palestinians. That work now paused after the attack that Israel admits was a grave mistake.

So, I sat down with Chef Jose Andres to discuss his emotional response to the death of his colleagues and what he believes both the Israeli and U.S. governments should be doing to address this war's deadly toll.


RADDATZ: At what point did it sink in for you, the enormity of this loss?

JOSE ANDRES, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN FOUNDER: Well, it has not sink in yet. I'm still going through the process. But there’s a lot of work to be done. We are a small organization and right now we are in the middle of this, a story that we wish we were not part of. We are organization that we want to go to difficult places and bring food to people and bring joy to people. Because people, when it’s about food and water, they need you today. So for me, I think, the grief is going on, especially the members I knew closely. Zomi, I spent a lot of time with her in missions. She was always a joy. And was a very beloved member of the community. She is like a sister. Damian, who was our newest member. And so this hits home because that's -- that's -- that's people I serve next -- next to and they're the example of who we are. And that they are putting themselves in harm's way to try to bring hope and smiles to others.

RADDATZ: You wrote a very emotional tweet this week about Zomi saying, I wish I never founded your organization. You would be alive somewhere today smiling and making somebody, somewhere feel like they were the most beloved person in the world.

You said you wish you'd never founded World Central Kitchen.

ANDRES: I -- you know, I will forever have to live with this, as well as the families and all the members of both World Central Kitchen. I founded it with one very simple idea. Can we provide food and water quicker than anybody else? Obviously something like this makes you think. We did what we did because there's a lot of people that are always forgotten, people that are always voiceless. I know very often is many people that joined the organization because they saw me doing the work before, and this began being a organization of one that became an organization of millions. And these are seven internationals, six internationals plus Saif, the Palestinian who is buried, and I received the photo from his father, his family on where he's already resting. And this has become news because these six internationals that they've been impacted by this war and where they're dead now, many are mourning.

This comes with with a risk. We try to minimize the risk. Who is going to tell me that day we were kind of celebrating, that we had armored vehicles, finally, armored vehicles that were very well marked, that we were doing the right protocols, that we were engaging with the IDF in the way we all should be doing. Like every minute, everybody knew where everybody was. Who was going to tell me that these protocols will break in such a way?

RADDATZ: The initial report released Friday, calling the drone strikes a grave mistake that should not have happened. Satisfied with that report?

ANDRES: Well I want to thank, obviously, the IDF for doing such a quick investigation. But at the same time, I will say something so complicated, the investigation should be much more deeper. And I would say that the perpetrator cannot be investigating himself. I would say we need more information. We need to see better quality videos. We need to be saying what was the conversations, the radio conversation between the different officers and soldiers in charge of saying that those cars were a target because they were an imminent threat? Those weapons can only be used with very sophisticated drones. And we all know that those drones have high capabilities day and night with cameras that can see in very powerful way what's going on.

RADDATZ: That's one of the things that they said is that they could not because it was night, see the logo from World Central Kitchen, which was so clear on top of the vehicle in the daytime, they said they couldn't see it at night. Do you buy that?

ANDRES: Obviously I would like to see high quality of the video, high quality of the images. I'm very sure that probably, those logos were visible. There were white cars. That logo is very colorful. Even in a dark night, I guarantee you that those drones, could be seen.

RADDATZ: They say that their drone video has not been verified, this video that they say shows Hamas operatives and they thought that one fired from an aid truck.

ANDRES: Every time something happens, we cannot just be bringing Hamas into the question. I think IDF knows better than anybody that can be a better army. It should be protocols, should be rules of engagement that somebody has to be making sure that they happen in a war zone. There’s way too many cases now of humanitarians dying, many civilians, women, children that the only thing they did was trying to get close by to somewhere that they were giving them flour or bread.

This is not anymore about the seven men and women of World Central Kitchen that perished on this unfortunate event. This is happening way for too long. It's been six months of targeting anything that seems – moves. This doesn't seem a war against terror. This doesn't seem anymore a war about defending Israel. This really, at this point, seems it's a war against humanity itself. That's why, yes, I'm requesting Israel, I'm requesting Prime Minister, I'm requesting IDF that this investigation, and many others should be done right, should be done in an independent way.

So not only for World Central Kitchen, for family -- for the families of the deceased, but for every other NGO that has been targeted or has lost members to exactly understand how the IDF has been operating. So IDF can learn from it, we can all learn from it.

RADDATZ: Jose, you said earlier this week in an interview, we were targeted deliberately, nonstop until everybody was dead in this convoy. Do you believe at this point, from what you have seen, that they were deliberately targeted, your aid group?

ANDRES: That the convoy was deliberately attacked, it was obvious. The precision, the continuous following over 1.8 kilometers until the three cars were totally destroyed and all the members inside those three. Obviously, this was targeted.

We could argue that the first one, let's say, was a mistake. The second? The third?

RADDATZ: Do you believe World Central Kitchen was targeted on purpose?

ANDRES: I -- my humanity tells me that obviously, I don't want to believe that World Central Kitchen was targeted and probably this was not the case. Because I'm sure they knew our movements. I'm sure they knew our teams. I’m sure they were in direct contact with the different people that coordinate, in these situations.

But obviously these things keep happening, these breaking of communications keeps happening.

Civilians must be protected. Humanitarian organizations must be protected. They are people that have names and last names. They are people that matter. They cannot be voiceless. They cannot be ghosts of wars that don't make sense.

Obviously, IDF has a lot of questions to ask themselves. What exactly are they there for? Are they there really to bring home safely all those hostages that they still are suffering?

I’m sure Israel had the right to defend itself. I’m sure what happened to -- on October 7th, to Israel is something should never happen. That was an atrocity.

RADDATZ: Jose, we heard Benjamin Netanyahu first, say, before the investigation. It was a mistake. It happens in war.

ANDRES: If we simplify things in such a way as Prime Minister Netanyahu has done, we are losing on the basis of what humanity should be there for. If somebody knows suffering, that’s the people of Israel. Somebody really understands the meaning of suffering, if somebody should be holding the highest standards of humanity, I would say that's also the people of Israel.

RADDATZ: Netanyahu says they will do everything they can to make sure nothing like this happens again. Do you believe him?

ANDRES: It's a first step. But we know that leaders of the world and politicians -- they give speeches that they never follow. These declarations of intentions needs to go alongside with real change of the people with boots on the ground.

RADDATZ: You spoke to President Biden. Did you say to him what you're saying to me now?

ANDRES: I spoke as a person. I spoke as the founder of the organization. I spoke on behalf of the seven people who are no longer with us. I spoke about the hundreds of other humanitarians, that they are no longer with us, and I spoke about the thousands of civilians that probably they didn’t have to be perishing in the way they are.

President Biden, you, you, you can and America will stand behind you, support the right of Israel to defend themselves on this massive attack. But at the same time, I would say that President Biden also can be defending and supporting the right of Palestinians not to die just trying to be getting a piece of bread.

I think both truths can live in the same place. You can be a friend of Israel, and at the same time, you can be telling your partner in the Middle East, you cannot be conducting war in such a way. You cannot be destroying every building, every hospital, every school, every university.

You cannot be destroying just the future for decades of more than 2 million Palestinians, and in the process leaving them hungry, leaving them without water or what is even worse -- just shooting them in the middle of the street in the process of trying to have access to food.

RADDATZ: So, what the White House did this week, it seemed like a very significant shift, saying there would be consequences if they didn't allow essentially more humanitarian aid and, and take more care of civilian lives. Were you satisfied with that statement?

ANDRES: I think ‘there will be consequences’ is part of the problem. Should be already consequences. Support Israel right to defend itself, but you cannot be just giving weapons that they are killing American citizens who are humanitarians. You can be supporting Israel's right to defend themselves, but at the same time, you can be asking Israel to conduct themselves at the highest possible human level.

RADDATZ: They opened two more crossings, the Israelis announced. Is that enough?

ANDRES: Obviously it's a first step to open new entry points into Gaza. But at the same time to make sure that they're open and hundreds of trucks can go through each one of them. This will be a first step, but at the same time, how we do it that is safe? Let the humanitarian aid flow. Let's make sure that the IDF has a real reckoning on how they conduct war. Who are the enemy? Who really are they fighting?

RADDATZ: Jose, not only have you suffered this tragedy and the loss of your employees.- You care so much about getting humanitarian aid in there, about getting food in there, and you can't do it right now. So how and when can you come back?

ANDRES: We need to make sure that the humanitarians doing this work are safe. Hundreds have died, close to 200 already. In a way, I'm, I'm sad that it had to be the killing of six foreigners that brings all this outrage. Sometimes history is written, unfortunately, in moments like this. But if there's anything to the lives of these six heroes, brave souls can bring, it is the real understanding of what's really happening in Gaza. bot be because there’s a Hamas operative in every building. We cannot be winning a war, destroying the lifehoods of 2 million people. This is not a way to create safety for Israel. This is not the way to create safety for the Middle East. This is not the way to create safety for a better tomorrow. I don't believe in higher walls. I believe in longer tables. What is good for me must be good for you.

RADDATZ: Your CEO said this was unforgivable. Despite what happens with the investigation, despite however more is done, is this unforgivable?

ANDRES: It is unforgivable. I will have to live with this the rest of my life. We all will have to live with this the rest of our lives. I've seen firsthand what has been happening in Ukraine. Entire towns and cities being wiped out by Russia and by Putin. But Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing this exactly the same. The best future we can be providing for our children is when we provide for the children of the people we don’t know, the same future, and the same hope we are trying to provide for our own. What is so difficult to understand about that?


RADDATZ: And we will take that question to White House Communications Adviser John Kirby coming up next.

We’re back in two minutes.


RADDATZ: A sea of protesters in Tel Aviv this weekend demanding new elections and calling for a deal to release hostages six months after the terror attack on October 7th.

I'm joined now by White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby.

Good to see you, Admiral Kirby.

And – and let's start with that interview with Jose Andres.


RADDATZ: He says this is a war against humanity and things have to change now.

KIRBY: Well, our – our hearts continue to go out with Chef Andres and his whole team at World Central Kitchen. As you know, the president spoke to him. The president shares that grief and sorrow.

As we have made clear, there’s going to have to be some changes to the way the Israeli Defense Forces are prosecuting these operations in Gaza, to make sure that this doesn't happen again. And some of the changes we talked about, certainly more humanitarian aid and assistance getting in. But just as critically, Martha, there’s got to be changes in the deconfliction process. The information flow between aid workers on the ground and the IDF in their headquarters so that this kind of targeting can't happen again.

RADDATZ: Are you satisfied with the investigation? He clearly wants to see more done. Would you like to see a further investigation?

KIRBY: We’re – we’re looking at the investigation right now, Martha. We haven't come to any conclusions one way or another. This was an investigation that was done sort of akin to like an inspector general. So, it was outside the chain of command. But again, we're working our way through that.

RADDATZ: Andres said he questioned the Israeli claim that the drones could not see the logo on top of the car. Is he right to question that?

KIRBY: I don't know. We haven't also seen, as far as I know, haven't seen any – any of the specific video evidence. So, it’s hard to know what their sight picture was at night.

Now, certainly, operations at night can be more difficult. There’s technology, though, that can allow you to burn through the darkness to – to see better.

RADDATZ: In drones, right?

KIRBY: In drones and infrared technology. But I just don't know what – I don’t know what they were using in terms of their – their technology to look at this. But clearly -- and they have admitted that they obviously made a mistake here.

What really matters is that they take steps going forward to make sure it can't happen again and that they're transparent about those steps.

RADDATZ: And – and I just want to talk about rules of engagement. The Israeli military says it’s a grave mistake, but the drone operators spotted who they said he thought it was a gunman get into one of those cars. And yet even if it wasn't an aid convoy, they destroyed three cars. Is that legitimate rules of engagement?

KIRBY: I think -- again, we’re going to have to work our way through this investigation. And the decision-making process that goes in, not just one but then three strikes, and what the – what the intelligence was telling them, at least what they believed it was.

We know from our own experience that the intelligence you get and you process and you analyze may not always be accurate. And you act on that intelligence. So, again, we just have to learn a little bit more about this investigation to see.

But, as I said, I don't want to sound like a broken record, but what really matters is they make the deconfliction changes and the communication changes so that this doesn't happen again.

I mean we’ve already seen Chef Andres is concerned, of course, about operating on the ground. Other aid organizations are probably making these difficult decisions. And we’ve got to make sure that they feel safe and secure getting into Gaza and distributing that aid.

RADDATZ: You – you said the U.S. position toward Israel could change if there is not a dramatic increase in humanitarian aid and a reduction of the violence against civilians. What will the consequences be if they don't do that?

KIRBY: Well, I don't want to get ahead of the president or close down his decision space. But as you heard us say, and Secretary Blinken as well --

RADDATZ: What does that mean, "decision space"?

KIRBY: If they’re – if – well, the – we – we need to see change over time. So, these announcements, Martha, they’re very welcome. And they're good. And they are some of the things that the president asks specifically for Prime Minister Netanyahu to do, in terms of opening up additional crossings, allowing more trucks in, getting the deconfliction process in place.

But now we have to judge it over time. We have to see not -- past the announcements and see if they actually meet these commitments over time in a sustained and verifiable way so that confidence can be restored, not just between aid workers and the IDF, but between the people of Gaza and the – and Israel.

RADDATZ: Would you rule out slowing down or pausing weapons transfers if this does not happen?

KIRBY: It’s not my place to rule anything in or out today. What I can tell you is that as the president made clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu, we’ve got to see some changes in the way they're prosecuting these operations or we’re going to have to think about making changes in our own policy towards Gaza.


KIRBY: Israel has a right to defend itself and I think it’s important to also remember, they live in a tough neighborhood. We're all focused on the fight in Gaza as we rightly should be. But they’re facing threats from Iran and from Iran-backed groups all through the region. We’ve got to make sure that they're ready for this.

RADDATZ: And quite a trip right now.

But I want to show you a timeline, Admiral Kirby. And wonder why things might change this time.

November 6th, death toll in Gaza passes 10,000.

November 10th, Secretary Blinken: Far too many Palestinians have been killed.

December 12th, Biden says: Israel is losing support to indiscriminate bombing.

December 22nd, death toll in Gaza passes 20,000.

February 8th, President Biden called the response in Gaza over the top.

February 29th, death toll in Gaza passes 30,000.

March 2nd, Vice President Harris said: There must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks.

April 1st, IDF strike kills seven World Central Kitchen aid workers.

So why do you think anything will change?

KIRBY: I’m glad you brought that timeline up because it shows the degree, the growing degree of frustration that we’ve had with the way these operations are being prosecuted and the way that the Israelis are acting on the ground in terms of civilian casualties. So we have been increasingly frustrated. And again, that was a core message that the president delivered to Prime Minister Netanyahu in their phone call this week, this past week, that they've got to do more, they've got to make changes.

Now, the prime minister assured the president that he would do that. We’ve seen some announcements in those early hours. That's welcome. We’ve got to see more. We’ve got to see it over time.

RADDATZ: The Israeli media is reporting, is pointing that the IDF withdrew ground troops from southern Gaza. They’ve been fighting there in Khan Younis for four months. What does that tell you?

KIRBY: Well, it doesn’t. It’s hard to know exactly what it tells us right now. This was just an announcement that they made. I’ll certainly let them speak to their operations as we understand it and through their public announcements.

It is really just about rest and refit for these troops that have been on the ground for four months and not necessarily, that we can tell, indicative of some coming new operation for these troops.

They’ve been on the ground for four months. The word we're getting is they're tired. They need to be refit.

RADDATZ: And just one final question. There’s such a dramatic disagreement between what the Israelis say and what they say in Gaza about what is happening on the ground. Obviously, we’ve seen some video on that.

Why hasn't the U.S. insisted on more on the ground accountability? Why aren’t we -- and I’m not saying in a combat position -- on the ground accounting for this ourselves to make sure the rules of law are followed?

KIRBY: The president has been very clear. We’re not going to have the U.S. boots on the ground in Gaza fighting in that war or involved in that conflict. What we will do is make sure they have the tools and capabilities they need to defend themselves. And what we will also do, and the president made this clear, is hold Israel accountable for the way in which they're conducting these operations.

You heard it from Chef Andres, and he's not wrong, you can do both. You can be a good friend of Israel, as we are and helping them defend themselves. At the same time, holding them to an appropriate standard of accountability and effectiveness from a military perspective where they are protecting civilians.

RADDATZ: OK. Thanks so much for coming in this morning.

KIRBY: Thanks.

RADDATZ: We appreciate it.

Up next, a very personal reunion 20 years after the siege of Sadr City in Iraq. My conversation with the soldiers who fought there about their long road home.

We're back in a moment.


RADDATZ: This past Thursday, April 4th, was remarkably, for me, the 20th anniversary of what's known as Black Sunday, the day when the U.S. Army's First Cavalry Division came under surprising attack in Sadr City, Iraq. I have been privileged to cover the heroism and dedication of these soldiers and their families for decades. And this week, they gathered again in Texas where their extraordinary love and bond embodied the best of us.


RADDATZ (voice-over): Two decades have now passed by, but with a handshake and a hug, the years fall away.

RADDATZ: When did you last see each other?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 19 years.


RADDATZ: Oh, man.


JEN PENROD, U.S. ARMY VETERAN: The raw emotions that go through me right now, I can't put in words. Nobody truly understands as much as these guys do. It's just the way it is.

RADDATZ (voice-over): That understanding began 20 years ago, just days after these soldiers arrived in Sadr City, Iraq when hundreds and hundreds of insurgents launched a brutal withering attack on the men.

CAPT. TROY DENOMY, 2-5 CAVALRY BATTALION: It was -- it was almost indescribable.

LT. COL. GARY VOLESKY, COMMANDER, 2-5 CAVALRY BATTALION: It was probably the loudest thing I've ever heard.

DENOMY: One every five seconds from an RPG or a pipe bomb.

RADDATZ (voice-over): A massive rescue force was launched to find a 19-men platoon pinned down in an alley, trapped on a rooftop.

VOLESKY: And I said, you know those are our soldiers and we're not leaving them behind.

RADDATZ (voice-over): Eight soldiers would eventually lose their lives that day. 60 more wounded.

VOLESKY: I understand now what it means when you go to a veterans' ceremony and you see the old veterans get together and hug and cry, and you never really understood it. I understand it now.

RADDATZ (voice-over): And now, 20 years later, retired Lieutenant General Gary Volesky is that old veteran.

RADDATZ: So all your old vet stories come true.

RADDATZ (voice-over): Joining his former soldiers and their families for a two-day reunion to remember and honor.

RADDATZ: How's the family?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're good. No complaints.

RADDATZ (voice-over): For me too, it was a chance to reconnect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's good to see you.

RADDATZ (voice-over): These men and women have been part of my life for the past two decades.

JUSTIN BELLAMY, U.S. ARMY VETERAN: Joselin (ph), last time you saw her, you were holding her, right?

RADDATZ: I know.

BELLAMY: Now, she's 12.

RADDATZ (voice-over): First, while reporting from Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see that crossing (ph) point right there.

RADDATZ (voice-over): And then through recounting their story in the book "THE LONG ROAD HOME."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mount up! We're rolling.

RADDATZ (voice-over): And a National Geographic miniseries that followed. Through the years, the road home has been difficult, even unbearable for some. But with the passage of time, there has also been healing.

CARL WILD, U.S. ARMY VETERAN: The ten years, coming here and seeing the memorial broke me. It has a different feel to it this time. I'm just with my family again.

RADDATZ: Is it getting better?

AARON FOWLER, U.S. ARMY VETERAN: Absolutely. I mean I have been working on it for 20 years. So, it's been a long process of counseling.

RADDATZ: And I just got to say, I think it's incredibly courageous what you have been doing. That's not easy.

FOWLER: No, but what else can you do? We just survived. You're better (inaudible) buddies.

RADDATZ (voice-over): Gary Volesky deployed multiple times, beginning when his son Alex was just six. He is now a soldier himself. But for Volesky, April 4th was like no other day.

VOLESKY: Coming back and seeing all of the soldiers I had the honor of serving with just brings back some of those memories. Just – it's tough. Really in both a good and bad way. Good because you get to see them all again, guys I haven't seen for decades, and the – the other piece is seeing guys that are still struggling. And this means so much to them to come and reconnect with their – their pals. That's – that’s the most powerful thing.

RADDATZ (voice over): Troy Denomy, who took shrapnel to the back on April 4th, today is about to pin on a star as a brigadier general. But he has carried an emotional weight with him.

RADDATZ: Ten years ago we sat at a picnic table just like this.

Eddie Chen (ph) was your guys.

BRIG. GEN. TROY DENOMY, U.S. ARMY: I’ve paid many respects to him and begged for forgiveness, but –

RADDATZ: Why do you say begged for forgiveness?

DENOMY: Well, I mean it’s – so, it's family, right? You lose part of your family.

RADDATZ: Does it feel different this time, 20 years later?

DENOMY: The comradery doesn't necessarily change. I think some of the rawness of the emotion is probably a little bit less. But it doesn't mean it's gone away.

RADDATZ: Do you still think about that day?

DENOMY: Yes, the day is absolutely part of me. I think truly what drives me in wanting to keep doing what I'm doing is a lot of those experiences from that year and the debt that I owe.

RADDATZ (voice over): Eric Bourquin was just 24 years old when he was trapped on that roof. It has not been an easy road for him since.

RADDATZ: A few years ago, during long road home, I asked you if you were home yet.

What do you say?

ERIC BOURQUIN, U.S. ARMY VETERAN: Road never end. You know? At least until I'm in the ground.

RADDATZ (voice over): But now the father of four is finding peace.

RADDATZ: Are you home now?

BOURQUIN: Yes, I think, just like everything else in life, you’ve got to constantly improve your house. And I think that ties in with self-maintenance and therapy and doing things that make you feel good and be a better person. So, I'm home. I'm definitely in my home.

RADDATZ (voice over): And for those eight who did not make it home, these survivors have never, ever forgotten them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you see the banners, when you talk about them, when you say their name, they're still right here with us.

RADDATZ (voice over): For the family of Robert Arsiaga killed that day, these veterans are now family.

SYLVIA MACIAS, MOTHER OF ROBERT & JEREMY ARSIAGA: They tell me stories about my son, and that brings me so much joy because I know that my son is not ever going to be forgotten.

RADDATZ (voice over): The Arsiaga’s loss did not end with Robert.

ANGEL MUNOZ, SISTER OF ROBERT & JEREMY ARSIAGA: Ten years ago today, our hearts and lives changed forever.

At the ten-year I was able to speak. And there is no way I would have been able to do it without my two brothers by my side.

RADDATZ: Gilbert on her right. Jeremy on her left.

Jeremy, who also served in Iraq, would die by suicide one year later.

MUNOZ: It’s all these guys, you know, that show us – show us so much love. And it takes away the pain a little bit more each time I come around them. So, I am very, very grateful for that.

RADDATZ: A gratitude that everyone shares.

VOLESKY: You're all family. And we're never going to forget those that made the ultimate sacrifice. We’re not going to forget you either. So, I'm going to challenge you, give you one more order, that would be to stay connected and never lose that great family we've got. You with me?


RADDATZ: My thanks to all of the remarkable families of the First Cavalry Division. It is an honor to know all of you.

The roundtable is up next.

We'll be right back.


RADDATZ: It's been another busy week in politics. So, let's bring in the powerhouse roundtable.

Former DNC chair Donna Brazile, senior editor for “The Dispatch” and former Trump Justice Department spokesperson, Sarah Isgur, "Politico" head of news, Alex Burns, and “New Yorker” staff writer Susan Glasser.

Good to see all of you.

Susan, and I want to start with you on Gaza.

SUSAN GLASSER, THE NEW YORKER STAFF WRITER: You know, Martha, that was a very powerful interview, obviously, with Chef Andres. And, you know, what I'm struck by is that this sad prescient (ph) of President Biden, six months ago already, going to Israel and warning them, do not make the same mistake that America made after 9/11, think about how you prosecute this war against Hamas.

And here we are six months later and, for me, the question is, how does this even end? I don't see any scenario right now that looks like victory for Israel. I see grinding attrition. I see a growing political bind here in the United States for President Biden, so eloquently, unfortunately, captured by Chef Andres today. Biden can't really risk a full break with Israel, but at the same time he's demanding conditions that, you know, may not be enough really to change the trajectory of what's happening on the ground.

RADDATZ: And – and, Donna, I want to talk to you about that. This has obviously been a huge issue for President Biden, but that – that timeline kind of makes clear that they haven't really listened.

DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER DNC CHAIR & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No. And it’s – and it’s unfortunate. You know, scripture says in Matthew – in the book of Matthews, it says that when – when I was hungry, you fed me. When I was thirsty, you gave me water. I mean, what Chef Andres and his organization has done over the years, starting in Haiti in 2010, is to be there on the ground helping people, not just by feeding them, but giving them the tools and the wherewithal to feed themselves and to get themselves back up.

The president has been very clear that Israel must do more to allow humanitarian assistance, to do more to protect civilians. And, yes, we want those hostages, including Americans, freed. We want to make sure that Israel is protected. But we have to do more. That's what the chef told us today.

RADDATZ: And, Alex, President Biden did meet behind closed doors with Muslim leaders this week, but you had one doctor leave, which really pounded down the point. Where is this standing in terms of the Democratic Party?

ALEX BURNS, POLITICO HEAD OF NEWS: Well, in terms of the Democratic coalition as a whole, we, in the media, often talk about this in terms of Muslim voters, but it’s straining the Democratic coalition on so many fronts, young voters, African American voters, other voters who look at what's happening in Israel and – and don't particularly identify with the Israeli side of that conflict. That they may have had enormous sympathy, I think most people did, for Israel after October 7th, but look at what's going on right now and see no rhyme or reason to it. Nothing productive at all.

And I do think, Martha, then you look at the president meeting behind closed doors with Muslim leaders, or behind closed doors or in private phone calls with Israeli officials, that may serve a purpose for policy reasons. It clearly did this week, his conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He doesn't talk to the whole country very often about this. He doesn't talk to the whole country very often about the war in Ukraine either. And I think what you do see in this electorate is, America is looking around the world, they're seeing chaos, they're seeing disorder, they’re seeing this horrific violence against humanitarian aid workers and civilians, and they don't have a president who’s doing a whole lot to help them make sense of it.

RADDATZ: And, Sarah, Republicans have been staunchly behind Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Even Former President Trump however said this week that he didn't really love the way this war was being carried out, thought it was a PR nightmare.

SARAH ISGUR, THE DISPATCH SENIOR EDITOR & FORMER TRUMP JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is hard to have a through (ph) line on Former President Trump's foreign policy some days. But look, Kissinger said that when avoidance of war is the goal of the major powers, you are at the mercy of the most ruthless actors in the world. And that's proven true here.

There are 129 hostages still being held by Hamas, who were taken on October 7th. I think that Netanyahu at this point should offer a simple ceasefire option. By the way, the Hamas side has rejected the six-week ceasefires that have been offered time and time again by Israel. Offer a simple ceasefire. Return all of the hostages, they actually hold 133, in exchange for a ceasefire because you know what, Hamas will either reject it or they will violate it immediately because don't forget, there was a ceasefire on October 6th.

This is the problem. This isn't like 9/11. They are holding Israelis. They're holding Americans for that matter. So yes, Israel will keep prosecuting that war until every one of those people are home. And that 47-minute video that they have of what Hamas did on October 7th is something that frankly Americans shouldn't have to watch, but maybe they need a reminder for what happened that day, because it wasn't like 9/11. They shot parents and burned their children in front of them.

RADDATZ: And I witnessed that as well shortly afterwards and it was indeed horrendous. Any response to that, Susan? I know one thing, a senior administration official told me that Netanyahu is very nervous about President Trump's comments.

GLASSER: Well, that's right. To Sarah's point, there is no consistency. The Republican Party, by and large, has embraced Netanyahu, has embraced a kind of Israel at all costs policy. But, as we all know, Donald Trump is not always in the same mode, even with high officials that he appointed in his own presidential administration.

Remember that for Trump, all politics is personal. You know why he's offended with Prime Minister Netanyahu? Because Netanyahu dared to call up Joe Biden and congratulate him in November of 2020 for winning the election. But to Sarah's point, I think that it is highly likely that any American president of any party is going to oversee a definitive break with Israel ever since President Truman essentially defied world consensus and recognized Israel in 1948.

You have seen a very special bond between the United States and Israel. So I don't see this as some kind of definitive break point. But remember, Netanyahu has politics too and he is a wildly unpopular prime minister of Israel. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the street. The question is, will there be an election in Israel before this war is over?


ISGUR: And it won't change how the war is prosecuted. Even if you replace Netanyahu, you still are going to get those 129. This is what Israel does.

RADDATZ: Donna, I want to go to you first and just quickly. Alex made the point that President Biden doesn't talk about the wars very often. Should he?

BRAZILE: Absolutely. Not just in Israel, Ukraine. We are a superpower. He is the Commander-in-Chief. Absolutely, he should've spoke out more. And also, we should cover what he's saying because often, when he speaks, nobody listens.

RADDATZ: OK. And Alex, I do want to turn to -- go ahead. Go ahead. I can see you have a point to make.

BURNS: No, no. If I could just -- I disagree slightly with Susan and Sarah. I do think there is a consistency to Donald Trump, not in terms of his ideology, but in terms of when he gets uncomfortable with the sort of consensus views of the Republican Party. We saw it after Parkland, that he had that moment of wavering on whether maybe we should do gun control because he sees the same headlines as everybody else and reacts on a visceral level. We see it now on abortion.

RADDATZ: That's right.

BURNS: He, clearly, isn't comfortable being where the right flank of the party wants him to be on this issue. I don't think he is going to oversee some pullback from the American-Israeli relationship. But I do think there is a familiar set of instincts at play there when he sees these kinds of images and these kinds of stories, and just sort of balks at the idea of putting his name on it.

RADDATZ: OK. We're almost out of time. But I do want to hit this new Wall Street Journal poll that found President Trump leading or statistically tied with President Biden in all of the seven most competitive battleground states. Biden -- they can't feel good about that.

BURNS: No. And the president's -- the current president's response to a lot of bad polling over the last few months is, well, you are looking at the wrong polls. There are other polls where I'm doing significantly better. And actually, in fairness to him, there are some national polls the last couple of weeks where he seems stronger. But, Martha, as you know, elections are won and lost at the state level in this country. And if you are a Democrat looking at those numbers in a place like Michigan or Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the former and in 2020 rebuilt blue wall, you certainly feel nervous about that.

RADDATZ: But this week -- and again, Donna, we have about 30 seconds, but no third-party candidate -- no label says they won't put anybody (inaudible).


BRAZILE: They couldn't find a candidate to unify the country, but they are going to continue to work on the ground to try to bring the country together and find more problem solvers to elect to Congress. Good luck.

RADDATZ: But, is that good news for Joe Biden?

BRAZILE: Absolutely. We take all good news every day and we try to go out there and spread the joy. And, by the way, these polls are very good right now, and you know why? Because it tells us where our weaknesses are, and we have time to fix it.

RADDATZ: OK. Thanks to all of you for joining us this morning. I’m glad to see someone smiling after this day.

Up next, the nation awaits the eclipse across America. We'll explain why this one is so unique when we come back.


RADDATZ: For the second time in seven years, a total solar eclipse will cast a shadow as it moves across the U.S. Thirty-one million Americans already live in the eclipse's path of totality, and many more are making the trek to be in the best position to see the daytime sky turn dark for a brief time tomorrow.

Astrophysicist and National Geographic explorer Jedidah Isler will be with ABC’s Ginger Zee in Carbondale, Indiana, for the network’s live coverage Monday. But before she heads out, she joins me here to talk about the celestial phenomenon and we’re so excited about this.

Give us an idea of exactly what Americans can expect, depending on where they're standing.

JEDIDAH ISLER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER: Oh, my goodness, Martha. It’s a pleasure to be here.

The eclipse is going to be something to see, weather permitting. So most of the contiguous U.S. will see some form of the eclipse. And if you’re along that path of totality, you’ll see 100 percent of the sun's coverage.

RADDATZ: And there was, of course, a total eclipse back in 2017. How is this one different? And are they rare or not?

ISLER: So that's a good question. So it’s different in the sense that the moon is in a different place. So, if we back up a little bit and think about the fact that what we're looking at is the moon passing between us and the sun, then we’re standing in a moon shadow.

So, the moon is closer to us in 2024 than it was in 2017, and so we'll see a bigger shadow on the Earth, which means it's longer. The path of totality and the moment of darkness will be longer. So that's one of the biggest differences between 2017 and 2024.

Now, is it rare? This is a good question. It's rare if you are going to stay in one place. NASA estimates that there is a total solar eclipse roughly once every year and a half. Now, some people chase them, so then it is less rare for them. But, yeah, if you are here and you are traveling briefly, then it will be pretty, pretty rare (ph).

RADDATZ: So, every year, sometimes it's over water and nobody would see it, so something like that.

ISLER: Exactly, exactly. In fact, most of the times, it's over water because the earth is 70 percent water. So most of the times, it's over water and you don't see it. So, it is super rare if you are like in the U.S. looking for one over the contiguous United States.

RADDATZ: And Jedidah, talk about safety.


RADDATZ: Look, we have all seen -- we all remember those safety glasses. Got to wear those safety glasses.

ISLER: Please wear your safety glasses. So here in D.C., we will get an 89 percent eclipse which means there is no time when it is safe to not have on your glasses. Right. So you want to use eclipse glasses, you want to make sure they're ISO certified, so they're actually protecting your eyes.

RADDATZ: And you are not only a space lover, but really an expert in this field. Talk about what it means to you and what it should mean to Americans.

ISLER: You know, I have loved the night sky for a long time. I think astronomy is a gateway science. I think it is a way for us to all think about wonder and joy, and how much bigger everything is than what we are, right? We're standing here watching a dance of celestial objects. It is such an amazing thing.

So, what it means to me is an opportunity to just take a second and be a part of something bigger than me that I have anything to do with, that I'm just an observer. And I think as a scientist there is something to know about how, you know, we're still learning things about science that we didn't know from this eclipse that's happening tomorrow. So, I'd say for the average American who is going to get a glimpse, whether it's now or 100 percent or some smaller fraction, just have the opportunity to just take a minute and take it all in.

RADDATZ: We are all excited about that. Thanks so much, Jedidah. Great to have you here. And be sure to tune into "Eclipse Across America" starting at 2:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, an unprecedented live event broadcasting the total solar eclipse here on ABC News, ABC News Live and multiple Disney platforms. We'll be right back.


RADDATZ: That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News Tonight" and our eclipse coverage tomorrow. And have a great day.