The Issue Is: Chasten Buttigieg, Bill Melugin, Adam Schiff

This week, "The Issue Is"  takes viewers from the streets of Hollywood to the Southern Border to rural Michigan.

First, Elex Michaelson is joined in-studio by author and LGBT Activist Chasten Buttigieg. Buttigieg, the husband of U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, discusses the Young Adult version of his memoir, coming out as a teenager in a small town, the fight over LGBT rights, and fatherhood.

Then, Michaelson welcomes back FOX News National Correspondent Bill Melugin. Melugin has spent the better part of the past two years at the U.S. Southern Border in Texas. Melugin discusses last week’s end of the COVID-era immigration policy Title 42 and why illegal border crossings actually fell once that policy expired. He also reveals the most impactful stories and images he’s seen while covering the border.

Finally, as the WGA strike nears its third week, Michaelson heads to picket lines outside Paramount Studio, where Congressman, and California Senate Candidate, Adam Schiff (D-CA) joined striking writers in a show of solidarity. 



BUTTIGIEG’S CENTRAL TAKE: "This book is the book I wish I would have had an eighth grade. I wanted to write the book I wish I could go back in time and hand to my younger self. There's so many things that I couldn't put in the first book. You know, I started writing that two years ago, I did not think that it would come out during this season of politics, but as things started changing, I was thinking about what do young people need to hear right now? And also, what book could teachers and parents use to empathize with what young people might be going through…"



BUTTIGIEG’S CENTRAL TAKE: "It was third, fourth grade when I knew something was up. Then, about the time I was nine years old, that's when Matthew Shepard happened, and then some alarms went off... Matthew Shepard was taken in a pickup truck and he was tied to a fence post and left for dead. And I was growing up in northern, rural, Conservative Michigan, around a lot of pickup trucks and fence posts. And that's when I started learning the words to describe what I was feeling and not only coming into that understanding of who I was, but if the world finds out, you know, everything that I was hearing from my 4H group, my church and then on the news was that, you know, you will lose everything, people won't love you, people think it's wrong and you might die….

"I did receive love back from [my parents] after. I ran away from home, after I came out when I was 18, and, you know, lucky me, there was a rainbow at the end of that story. Pun intended... my parents called me back home, they loved their son more than the fear of raising a gay son…"



MELUGIN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "It's weird, the border did a 180 from what everybody thought was going to happen. The big surge happened before Title 42, the days leading up to it - highest number of illegal crossings ever recorded: 83,000 people in a single week. Just to put that in perspective, that's like a full Dallas Cowboys football stadium crossing the border in a single week. Then Friday at midnight, Title 42 goes away and it has just been dead since then. Illegal crossings have completely fallen off a cliff….

"I think it's a combination of a lot of things. So, number one, the state of Texas did something they've never done before and something that has never been done in U.S. history. They surged a bunch of National Guard troops, troopers, barbed wire, and they started physically blocking people from entering. People were crossing the river and coming up to them, normally, they let them in and hand them off to Border Patrol, this time they said, no, you're not coming in. They blocked them. That's one aspect. Another aspect is now that Title 8 is in place instead of Title 42 just being the consequences, 'oh, you're going to get bounced back to Mexico and you can try to cross again later in the day,' now you can actually be deported if you cross. Now you might be on a flight back to Haiti or Honduras or Nicaragua, rather, just being bounced back essentially across the river…"



MELUGIN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "There's two. One, October of 2021, we came across two little girls, two little like five-year-old sisters who had just been sexually assaulted by a coyote who brought them across the border. There were medics all around them. That was very difficult to see….

"Number two: there was a Texas National Guard soldier last March who drowned in the river. He jumped in seeing migrants in the water, thinking they were trying to cross over and he jumped in to rescue them. They ended up being drug smugglers and he drowned. There's a memorial to him right next to the side of the river in Eagle Pass, where we do a lot of live shots, so seeing the American flag and the flowers right there is just kind of a reminder of, you know, so many things have happened over the last few years down there…."



REP. SCHIFF’S CENTRAL TAKE: "These are the folks that bring the magic to the screen. Without them, there are no heroes, there are no villains, there's nothing to be moved by, nothing to be frightened by, nothing to laugh at on the screen. They make the magic happen. Without them, it's just static on the screen. And they ought to be able to earn a decent living. They should be able to provide for their families. The industry is very profitable and that needs to be shared among the people who make it possible…

"What they're doing in fighting for fair wages for themselves and their families is the same struggle we're seeing all around the country, whether they're nurses or teachers or firefighters or janitors, they deserve deserve to earn a decent living…"


The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to