TIME natural disaster

10 Essential Stories About Hurricane Katrina

Sep. 12, 2005
Cover Credit: KATHLEEN FLYNN / ST. PETERSBURG TIMES / WPN The Sep. 12, 2005, cover of TIME

'Trust no one and nothing. They're not counting on the levees to hold or the government to rescue them this time'

It was Aug. 29, 2005, that Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, leading to one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in U.S. history. On Thursday, President Obama will travel to New Orleans to mark the decade that has passed since then.

Ahead of that anniversary, take a look back through the lens of TIME:

An American Tragedy. TIME’s now-editor Nancy Gibbs wrote this cover story the first week after the storm made landfall, as the devastation was still mounting. Though the flood waters had yet to ebb, it was already clear that the storm was a singular event whose echoes would be felt for years to come.

But by the time President Bush touched down in the tormented region on Friday, more than just the topography had changed. Shattered too was a hope that four years after the greatest man-made disaster in our history, we had got smarter about catastrophe, more nimble and visionary in our ability to respond. Is it really possible, after so many commissions and commitments, bureaucracies scrambled and rewired, emergency supplies stockpiled and prepositioned, that when a disaster strikes, the whole newfangled system just seizes up and can’t move?

Read the full story, free of charge: The Aftermath (Sept. 12, 2005)

An accounting. The questions continued to pile up the following week. How, they each asked in their own ways, had this happened? TIME identified four junctures where human failure had compounded the problem. From the mayor’s office to the federal government, there was plenty of blame to go around.

Already it’s clear that this debacle was more than an act of God. This country’s emergency operations, awesome in their potential, are also frighteningly interdependent. The locals are in charge–until they get overwhelmed. Then they cede control to the feds–but not entirely. The scarier things get, the fuzzier the lines of authority become. As TIME’s investigation shows, at every level of government, there was uncertainty about who was in charge at crucial moments.

Subscribers can read the full story in the TIME Vault: 4 Places Where the System Broke Down (Sept. 19, 2005)

Another place. About a month after Katrina hit, Cathy Booth Thomas reminded readers that the destruction had not been limited to New Orleans proper. In one Louisiana parish, beginning the process of rebuilding seemed near impossible.

Unlike in New Orleans, which is turning on the lights and water spigots, the 67,000 people who live on the peninsula to the east–mostly white and middle-class homeowners–have nothing at all to go back to. Katrina’s tidal surge, with waves of up to 25 ft., was so strong, it moved houses–their concrete foundations still attached–down streets.

Subscribers can read the full story in the TIME Vault: Starting from Scratch (Oct. 17, 2005)

A homecoming, or not. About a week after evacuees began to return, Thomas reported that the situation in New Orleans was “worse than you think.”

On Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, the neon lights are flashing, the booze is flowing, and the demon demolition men of Hurricane Katrina are ogling a showgirl performing in a thong. The Bourbon House is shucking local oysters again, Daiquiri’s is churning out its signature alcoholic slushies, and Mardi Gras masks are once again on sale. But drive north toward the hurricane-ravaged housing subdivisions off Lake Pontchartrain and the masks you see aren’t made for Carnival. They are industrial-strength respirators, stark and white, the only things capable of stopping a stench that turns the stomach and dredges up bad memories of a night nearly three months ago.

Subscribers can read the full story on TIME.com: It’s Worse Than You Think (Nov. 28, 2005)

A lesson learned. Mother Nature doesn’t care if you’re still recovering: another year means another hurricane season. On the eve of the 2006 hurricane season, New Orleanians reflected on the take-away from Katrina, and it wasn’t exactly a movie-of-the-week moral.

Trust no one and nothing. They’re not counting on the levees to hold or the government to rescue them this time. Neighborhoods like Broadmoor are recruiting block captains to canvass residents who have returned, noting which homes are occupied, who lives in flimsy trailers and which elderly residents might need help. In Gentilly, where many senior citizens died, residents are looking into their own text-messaging system for emergency alerts. Self-sufficiency is everyone’s mantra, from civic associations to city hall.

Subscribers can read the full story in the TIME Vault: You’re On Your Own (May 29, 2006)

An opportunity. Around the time of the hurricane’s two-year anniversary, Walter Isaacson found a bright spot left behind in Katrina’s wake: the many people working to improve education in New Orleans.

Call it the silver lining: Hurricane Katrina washed away what was one of the nation’s worst school systems and opened the path for energetic reformers who want to make New Orleans a laboratory of new ideas for urban schools .

Subscribers can read the full story on TIME.com: The Greatest Education Lab (Sept. 17, 2007)

A near miss. In the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav in 2008, Michael Grunwald examined whether the relatively limited impact of that storm was a result of better preparation—or just a lucky break.

The sad truth is that the Big Easy–while slightly less vulnerable than it was before Katrina–is still extremely vulnerable. And eventually the region will face the Big One, a storm far larger than Gustav or Katrina. “We got lucky this time,” says law professor Mark Davis, director of Tulane’s Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy. “I like being lucky. But at some point we have to get smart.”

Subscribers can read the full story in the TIME Vault: The Flood Next Time (Sept. 15, 2008)

A retrospective. As 2010 approached, Andy Serwer dubbed the aughts “the decade from hell.” The hurricane was no small part of what made the 2000s so terrible.

Sometimes it was as if the gods themselves were conspiring against this decade. On Aug. 29, 2005, near the center point in the decade, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, killing more than 1,500 and causing $100 billion in damages. It was the largest natural disaster in our nation’s history.

Subscribers can read the full story in the TIME Vault: The Decade From Hell (Dec. 7, 2009)

A retelling. Post-Katrina interest in New Orleans continued in 2010 with the premiere of the HBO show Treme. In his review, TV critic James Poniewozik examined how the hurricane had changed the way the city’s story was told.

[The show’s creators] set their series in December 2005, after the media and political attention had died down and, as [David] Simon puts it, “the people of New Orleans realized they were on their own.” But although it was only four years ago, that also makes Treme a period piece. The producers took pains to match the calendar of events and the look of the postflood city, still on edge and patrolled by the military. One asset, says [Eric] Overmyer: “Unfortunately, there are still places that still look like they did the day after the storm.”

Subscribers can read the full story in the TIME Vault: Song of Survival (Apr. 19, 2010)

An anniversary. For the fifth anniversary of Katrina, TIME took a look at photos from before and after, how the clean-up had gone, maps of how the city of New Orleans had changed—and more.

We didn’t realize how much we’d mourn New Orleans until Katrina’s rising, fetid waters turned it into a ghost town. There are just a few places in this hemisphere that embody the New World’s elegantly unruly culture. Rio de Janeiro is one, New Orleans another. Its jazz, the jambalaya swirl of its cuisine and architecture–the Crescent City is our boisterous soul roaring from a wrought-iron balcony. But it took a tragedy as ugly as Katrina to really make us aware of the Big Easy’s beauty.

See the full package, free of charge: New Orleans 2005–2010 (Sept. 6, 2010)

Read next: New Orleans, Here & Now

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TIME Donald Trump

Watch Donald Trump’s Interview With TIME

In an interview with TIME, the leading Republican candidate talks about what's wrong with the Clintons, his opponents' weaknesses and what it takes to be great

Donald Trump was interviewed by TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs, Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer, and political correspondent Zeke Miller on Aug. 18.

Behind the Scenes with Donald Trump

Donald Trump on Immigration

Donald Trump on Jeb Bush

Donald Trump on Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump on Bill Clinton

Donald Trump on Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham

Donald Trump on Tax Reform

Donald Trump on Super PACs

Read TIME’s interview with Donald Trump

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Watch Live: First Female Army Ranger Graduates Speak

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TIME

Donald Trump Explains All

In an interview with TIME, the leading Republican candidate talks about what's wrong with the Clintons, his opponents' weaknesses and what it takes to be great

Donald Trump was interviewed by TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs, Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer, and political correspondent Zeke Miller on Aug. 18.

For TIME’s cover story on Trump, read here.

Jeb Bush was asked about your comment on “Meet the Press.” You were asked who your foreign policy advisors are and you said you “watch the shows.” He said it’s not enough to watch television. Do you have a response to that?

Well Jeb is a very low energy person. So he can sit around a table all day long with one general and talk and talk and you know. But I see that general as being grilled by you. And when I say I watch on television, I do, and I watch on TIME Magazine, and I watch in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, I read all of them a lot.

And I get my views from the media. A lot of the views, and frankly other people do. And the views that you will see during those ten or fifteen minute segments or during reading the story are not a lot different than Jeb sitting around with a policy group, if he really has such a thing.

Donald Trump Time Magazine Cover
Photograph by Martin SchoellerPhotographed for TIME on August 18, 2015 in New York City.

Behind the cover: Donald Trump meets an American bald eagle.

It sounds good. I can say that too. You know I was an excellent student at the best school and I could also say, “Oh well, I have a great policy group, and we sit around.” I mean I wonder whether or not Jeb actually has that. But I’m being very honest. And I know when I say something like that, you can be criticized…When I see certain generals sitting at the different shows, I mean I think it’s a great way to learn about what’s going on. When I see the leaders of countries sitting on shows and frankly, you don’t have to go through the whole process. It’s a shortened version.

So I’m somebody that time is very important to me, and it saves time. But also you get really good views. You see some tremendous people.

In one of your books on leadership you actually said as advice to other people who want to be entrepreneurs, having a short attention span can be a benefit.

Well I mean I have an attention span that’s as long as it has to be. But I don’t have to sit around with a group of generals to tell me about Iraq being a failure. Iraq was a total failure.

Several of your rivals say that your experience in business doesn’t translate. Chris Christie said, “This is not negotiating a real estate deal. This is international diplomacy.” What do you say to that?

Well, I have the right temperament. I have the right leadership. I’ve built an incredible company. I went to a great school. I came out I built an incredible company. I wrote the number one selling business book of all time Trump: The Art of the Deal. I had tremendous success in show business–star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “The Apprentice” was one of the most successful shows. And as you know NBC renewed it, I just said I’m not doing it. They’re not exactly thrilled with me at all. But I’ve had a great career, and I know how to get along with people. I know how to deal with people.

I mean, if I was the governor of New Jersey, the George Washington Bridge would not have been shut. You talk about temperament.

You know people are talking about diplomacy, or tone. You know Bush brings up tone all the time. Tone. We need strong tone. We’re too far behind. We’re behind. We’re not winning. You know if we were winning we could sort of soften it up.

But you look at Putin can’t stand Obama, and Obama can’t stand him, in all fairness. But we don’t get along with anybody anymore. Hillary Clinton was the worst Secretary of State in the history of the country. The world came apart under her reign as Secretary of State.

I want to ask you about the immigration plan you put out over the weekend. You had said in 2012 that Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” comment was crazy and maniacal.

Well I thought it was stupid. Who’s going to self deport? It wasn’t that it was a bad plan from any other standpoint. But you tell people, oh, self deport. To me that just means what, you’re just going to walk across the border and say okay. They asked me to go. That’s not going to happen.

So how does the deportation happen under …

Well what we’re going to do–we have a plan, and I think it’s a really good plan. And by the way, it’s been very well received and some of the candidates, my opponents I guess you could call them, but some of the candidates have said that’s really what you want. I worked with a number of people on it including [Alabama] Senator [Jeff] Sessions, highly respected, and not known as a radical person at all. But we’re going to have to – look, it’s very simple. We either have a country or we don’t.

The first thing I need is a wall, and I will build a wall. And you know that Hillary Clinton and almost everybody ten years ago wanted a wall built. Everybody wanted a wall built. But they couldn’t do it because they don’t know anything about building. They’re throwing out numbers to build a wall. I’ll build a far better wall, far higher, and just a much better–that’s what I do. I mean the thing I do best is build. Which is not bad to have as a president because our infrastructure in this country is also crumbling. But we’ll build a great wall. It will be a very effective wall. And it will be done quickly and Mexico will pay for it.

But the next step, if I understand your plan correctly, is that even the hardworking good people who are here without papers —

They’re illegally here. They will leave, and they’ll come back on an expedited basis if they…And they will leave.

You’re talking about 10% of California’s workforce, maybe 13% …

Don’t forget in the meantime we have a real unemployment rate that’s probably 21%. It’s not 6. I’s not 5.2 and 5.5. Our real unemployment rate–in fact, I saw a chart the other day, our real unemployment–because you have ninety million people that aren’t working. Ninety-three million to be exact.

If you start adding it up, our real unemployment rate is 42%. We have a lot of room. We have a lot of people who want to work. But the good people I want them to come back. And I also want people of great talent to come to this country, to Silicon Valley for engineers. If you go to Harvard and you graduate number one in your class, and you’re from China, they send you home, you can’t get back into the country.

So you end up working for companies in China and fighting us. And they’re competitors of us. They’re trained in our schools. I want people like that to come into this country. And if they want, I want that path to citizenship for these people. So they go to our best schools, they’re fabulous students, they do well, they’re going to be great and we throw them out of the country. It’s ridiculous.

So again, just talking about the hardworking peaceful undocumented immigrants here.

Illegal immigrants, we’re taking about the illegal. Do you know the word illegal? They go out …

But do you forcibly remove them? I mean if they choose not to go, if they say, “No, I’m not going to go.”

It’ll all work out. It’s called management. Politicians can’t manage. All they can do is talk. It’s called management. And we’ll do an expedited system. Because I agree with you, there are some very, very good people here who they are here illegally.

But they are illegal. We have to strengthen our border. We have to have people come in legally. And we will work out an expedited system where the really good people can come back legally.

If you became president, what needs to change about about Super PACs and campaign financing? It’s a system that you’ve said is basically corrupt.

Well I think this whole thing with PACs is nonsense. Because Jeb Bush puts his friend in charge of has PAC, and they don’t talk….And he’s going to work hard, as is Hillary Clinton. They all have their friends running the PACs. Now you’re not supposed to talk, you’re not supposed to – they go out and play golf, they get together, but they don’t talk. Who believes that? So I want transparency. I don’t mind the money coming in. Let it be transparent. Let them talk, but let there be total transparency.

Are you willing to sign the “No New Taxes” pledge of Grover Norquist?

Well I’m thinking about it but I have a problem because I may want to switch taxes around. I want to save the middle class. And I have hedge fund guys that are making a lot of money that aren’t paying anything, okay. And I don’t know how his pledge relates to that.

But I know a lot of bad people in this country that are making a hell of a lot of money and not paying taxes. And the tax law is totally screwed up. The complexity of it, the size of it. I mean I spent millions of dollars every year on lawyers and accountants just to do a tax return. And I want to put H&R Block out of business. I want to make it very simple. And we can leave the tax code the way it is and simplify it, or you could go to a form of a flat tax. You could go to a fair tax. There’s a lot of things you could do.

Probably the simplest is simplify the existing. Because we have other projects. We have to beat China. We have to beat Japan. We have to beat Mexico. We have to beat everybody that beating us, which is 100% of the countries that we do business with. We have a lot of other things to work on.

As president would you propose changes that increased the net amount of taxes?

No, because there’s so much waste in Washington.

You’ve written more on leadership than any of the other candidates. George W. Bush or Bill Clinton, who is a better leader?

I wasn’t a huge fan of Bush, as you know…I thought he was lost. I thought he was not a great president…He certainly wasn’t a good president. He got us into Iraq which by itself was a disaster. He also caused toward the end of his thing a financial problem by allowing exploding mortgages and other things that I predicted. I said you’re going to have a huge bubble here. We have another one coming up by the way. I predicted that. You have exploding mortgages. I understood. I made a lot of money because I went in and bought a lot of stuff at the low price after it exploded. But he really gave us Obama. Clinton had a lot of problems with the Monicas of the world and had he not had those problems he would have had a pretty good presidency. Not a great one but a pretty solid presidency. But that was a disaster and a tremendous distraction.

Are there any of the current candidates who you would not consider as a vice presidential candidate?

Well I don’t want to say because – I will tell you when it’s all over, win, lose or draw, I’ll tell you who I respect, who I don’t respect. I think the thing that I most – that I’m very complimented by is that Rick Perry was doing really well, and then he decided he had to do better and he went after me and he went right down the tubes.

Senator Lindsey Graham was doing fine. Nobody got more publicity than this guy. He had zero. He’s the only one that had zero. That means not one person in the whole country – he had zero. Like [former New York Gov. George] Pataki had zero but slightly more than that, right. He actually had a zero down today on the CNN.

And these were the two guys that hit me very hard. And it was such a compliment to think – and now by the way Rand Paul’s going down the tubes. Because all of a sudden he came out of nowhere and he hit me, and now he’s … Now I hit back very hard. I think I hit back maybe sometimes harder than they hit me.

But I came out with a very strong statement about Rand Paul. First of all I think he’s totally taking advantage of the people in Kentucky. Because one of these afterthought, if I don’t win here I’ll go back to you. It doesn’t work that way. Somebody should primary him out. Because he can be beaten, believe me.

So he’s done very poorly. And since he attacked me, he’s gone down. And I’m greatly honored by that, you know. I get attacked but somebody and they go down. I thought that a guy like Perry, he was getting so much publicity, he went to Washington, he read a speech, he did a whole big thing, it was all over the television. He went down. So that’s a great honor.

What happened with “The Apprentice”?

[NBC/Comcast Executives] came up to see me. And even after twelve years and fourteen seasons it was one of their most successful shows. It was a great success. And they tried to talk me into it and I just wouldn’t do it. And I just wouldn’t do it.

So I didn’t know this was going to happen, and they’re impressed too. They probably didn’t know this was going to happen either.

Do you still retain an interest in the show?

Yeah I do. A big interest. So it’s a very good question. When I say I’m not doing another season, that’s a lot of money. And even if you’re a rich person, that’s a lot of money to give up… They would have paid me whatever I wanted. So when I did this…I turned down a deal last week in China, because I’d have to go there. One of the biggest companies wanted me to do a deal in China. Guaranteed tens of millions of dollars. Turned it down because I can’t go to China… I’ve told my kids, this is going so wild. Let’s see what happens.

You know I’ve had great success. Even in golf I’ve won many golf club championships. I don’t know if you guys play golf. But to win a club championship is hard, literally hard. And you have to beat scratch players…You got a lot of good players. I’ve won many club championships. So my life has been about winning. My life has not been about losing. So I get a kick out of watching these guys who were not even successful people saying, “Oh, he’s just having fun.”

It’s not having fun. Actually I could have more fun. I own here’s a picture, I own Turnberry in Scotland that just hosted the Women’s British Open. I wouldn’t mind being at Turnberry. I may never see it again.

Are you surprised by your position?

So I’m a little surprised that it’s gone with this speed. I don’t expect to lose ever. But the speed is pretty rapid. You know. And unlike other people, I’ve stayed in the position.

Why run for president this time? You’ve decided against it in the past.

So it was really important that I do it, for myself…I mean I really considered it strongly last time. Before that I thought about it. But I never even had any staff. My secretary was my staff. But the time I looked at it was less time. But I was very busy, I was doing tremendous developments which are now completed and very successful. Because we’re all over the world. And I had a signed contract with “The Apprentice.” I would have had to break it. The other reason I wanted to do this for myself. I didn’t want to look back in ten years and say I could have done that or I could have done that. My family would look at me and say, “Ugh, stop.” I had to do it for myself.

How has this changed your life?

So I am enjoying it. And I think people see that…I’m watching my opponents. Certainly Hillary is not enjoying it, okay. She’s going through something that for me, for me is Watergate. Her only hope is that because the prosecutors are Democrats she doesn’t get prosecuted. That’s the only hope she’s got. Because what she did is wrong and what she did far worse than General Petraeus.…And I saw her joke yesterday, it wasn’t a joke … but it was sort of like you’re laughing at people’s faces when they say – and they automatically – you know by saying they were automatically deleted, right, you know she made that statement yesterday, by saying that you’re almost saying that you deleted them on purpose….It was supposed to be a joke. It wasn’t funny, but there was a lot into that if you think about it.

A lot of your supporters are not wealthy. They can never imagine themselves in your shoes.

And they like me.

You’re not the average American in a way, you’ve never been – but you connect with them. How do you explain that?

Actually, the funny thing is, I do worse with the wealthy people. Okay, it’s funny in my opinion. Now, they’ll all support me if I want them to, but I don’t want them. If they want to send something, I don’t care….I have a dot com. I had a woman send me $7 the other day. Another guy sent me $12. There was a long beautiful letter. I love that, because it’s like they’re investing. That’s called a great thing. They’re investing…They’re doing that because they’re investing in the campaign and that I really do like. But somehow I related to exactly what you’re saying, to the middle class, to the working person, and people don’t understand.

You come in on a Boeing 757, then you get on a helicopter, and you go over to the fair, and you give the kids the rides, which the kids loved. But you land in this incredible Sikorsky, and people like it. I’ve always felt that when Jimmy Carter would walk out of—off Air Force One carrying his own suits and bags, I always said, that’s not what the country wants… He would walk off Air Force One carrying his suit and his bag. He’s the President of the United States, and he didn’t want anybody to carry his stuff, because he thought, “Why should they? I can carry it myself.” I always felt that’s not what they want. They don’t want that. They want someone who’s going to beat China, beat Japan.

I was in Los Angeles, I saw boats coming in with cars from Japan, the largest ships I’ve ever seen, loaded to the gills, cars just pouring off, made in Japan. How does that help us, and we give them a fraction—a tiny fraction—and they don’t even want it. Those days are gone. Those days will be gone. But we have to make ourselves wealthy again in order to save our country. We can’t continuously lose money.

How do you view the state of the American banking system?

We’re having a huge problem, again. You know you look at the junk. You know all the junk that’s floating all over the place. You look at some of this Internet stuff that’s floating all over. We’re in a bubble again, okay. It’s not – and I’ll tell you the problem with the banks, if you’re really rich, like with me, if I want to borrow money I can buy all the money I want. But if there’s a young Donald Trump that needs some money to do a couple of really good deals can’t get it because the regulators are making it absolutely impossible for the banks to loan money.

Do you want to repeal Dodd Frank and similar financial regulation reforms passed by President Obama?

Well Dodd Frank is probably not a very good thing. There are aspects of it you could leave. But generally speaking Dodd Frank stifles business. It just totally stifles business.

I’ll tell you another subject that I’m going to start talking about because nobody talks about it. Corporate inversion, where companies are going over to other places. You know it used to be they moved from New York to Florida, they moved from New Jersey to…Pfizer is talking about moving to Ireland. Or someplace else. We’re talking about Pfizer. Do you know how big that is? It would wipe out New Jersey. I mean that is a massive Merck.

They have $2.5 trillion sitting out of the country that they can’t get back because they don’t want to pay the tax. Nor would I. Everybody agrees that shouldn’t happen. We should let them back in. Everybody. Even if you paid nothing it would be a good deal. Because they’ll take that money then and use it for other things.

But they’ll pay something. Ten percent, they’ll pay something. Every Republican, every Democrat for years they have all agreed … They all agree. So now what’s happening is companies are moving out to get their money. And they’re moving out because they’ll pay lower taxes. That’s a huge problem.

You don’t have any Cayman accounts?

No I don’t. I could have.

Have you ever, because you’d benefit a lot I’m sure.

I could have and I said – I’ve been thinking about doing this – that really hurt Romney in my book, when he set up these stupid accounts. In the end, when you do the Cayman accounts you don’t gain that much.

The way you criticize the political process seems like the underlying theme of this campaign is that the people who are running stuff now are all phonies. That pretending it’s something they can’t actually do.

They can’t do it.

And they use pollsters to tell you what they think, that they’re just not real. And then you’re presenting yourself as the more authentic person. That’s the underlying —

I’m a person who’s had great success in getting things done. They do use pollsters. I’m much richer than all of them put together. I don’t want to pay a pollster. They pay these pollsters a hundred thousand dollars a month for doing what?

And then these guys come in and they want to be tough. Like Romney, but the time he got to the last debate he couldn’t even talk. He was afraid to say anything.

In 2014, you had Republicans saying we’re going to take back Congress, we need it. And they raised five hundred million dollars to do it. The first thing we’re going to do is repeal Obamacare. And they haven’t done it.

They joked. They couldn’t do it.

So do you think that they’re not honest?

They got elected on the basis. So they got in, something happened.

Are they the real phonies though?

Look, I was just as disappointed in the Republicans as I am the Democrats. I mean at least the Democrats you know where they’re coming from. The Republicans – and many of them got elected on the basis of we’re going to get rid of Obamacare.

It’s almost like when they get to Washington, I will not let this happen to me. They’re so enamored with the magnificence that they sort of say, “Oh, we can’t do this. We can’t do that.” They become different. Does that make sense?

It’s just so false and so phony and they can’t move. It’s moribund. They become weak and ineffective except at one thing: get themselves reelected…I have friends who are in Congress and they run every two years. And good guys, I’ve known then for a long time. As soon as that cycle is up, you know they win their election, then they take one day off and then the next day they start fundraising.

All they do it fundraise. They don’t really govern. They just fundraise. Their whole life is raising money. And I say what percentage of the time you’re raising money as opposed to legislating? …I mean they’re constantly – it’s that time of year, you come in. I mean that’s all they do is raise money.

So you say that they’re puppets. You understand the game.

They’re puppets. I’m the only non-puppet in the group.

What was the best example of something you got from a politician?

Well I wasn’t an asker. I would just give just in case. I would always be treated well. But I’ll say this. If the Speaker of the House, somebody they come up to see you and they’d like to know if you’d make a contribution. It’s not a lot of money.

Let’s say you say no. “No, I’m sorry, I can’t. I have great respect for you, I like you a lot. I will not make a contribution.” “Oh, thank you Mr. Trump, thank you.” Now let’s say three years go by and I call, I need something from the Speaker of the House or I need something from somebody.

We’re talking really human nature, okay. It’s fairly hard. It’s the rare politician that can do what’s right in the face of massive contributions. And who can blame them. You could say you’re disloyal. You can do whatever you want to say. But let’s say you say no and then you call three years later. Nothing quid pro quo, none of that stuff. 100%.

Hillary’s thing with the speeches is interesting because to me that’s just as interesting as the emails. Because you look at the speeches and you look at the people who are paying all of that money for those speeches and then approvals of … going to be granted are granted. To me that’s as big a deal. People have forgotten about that.

What do you think of David Koch?

Yes, he’s a member of my club. Well you saw my Tweets on David where all these guys … they’re tying to get money and influence … He’s a member of my club… Big guy. So is his brother, a big guy. And I think they’re well meaning people too by the way. I think they’re actually very well meaning people. But when I see all these guys running over to go get money – okay so when David calls and needs something do you think they’re going to say no? Possible. It’s just something that’s pretty far out. It’s pretty much impossible.

You’ve said that you can’t tear up an Iran deal on Day One.

I’m a deal maker, when a person makes a deal … But I’ve taken on some really bad deals and made the other side suffer.

Do your rivals who say they’d tear up the deal understand how the world works?

They don’t…It’s a terrible deal. But I would enforce that deal like they never saw … I’d demand to go – and the twenty-four day thing is ridiculous. And the fact that we didn’t get the prisoners back is ridiculous.

There are so many things wrong with it….I’m a dealmaker…There are things in the deal that I’m sure Kerry doesn’t even know about that I will find. And if they make a mistake they’ve got big problems.

What do your daughters give you a hard time about?

I’ve been very lucky, they’re both smart and both went to the Wharton School. Tiffany goes to Penn and Ivanka went to the Wharton School, both very good students. Tiffany’s got all A’s, Ivanka the same, very good students.

Ivanka was interesting because I’m very strong on women’s health issues. And I couldn’t believe what Bush said last week about he wouldn’t fund, essentially wouldn’t fund women’s health issues. And I hit him hard. And she came back and she said I’m so glad you did that Dad, because people don’t know how you respect women, they don’t know how you get it, and you have to get that word out.

There still seems to be a ceiling in the polls that there’s a big chunk of the country who know you very well and don’t want to see you in the Oval Office. How can you deal with that?

Well they’ve been saying the ceiling from the time I started in six. When I first got in it was six. Well that’s the ceiling and he’ll stay around there …There was one poll that said thirty-two.

People are surprised, it’s the Tea Party but it’s also straight across the board. It’s men, it’s women, it’s a lot of Democrats. In fact … said you were better with the Democrats…The states where they know me best there’s a huge positive. In fact I had the biggest swing of anybody that they’ve seen. You know what I mean, right?

So I think that’s just a question of time. And I think that I will be the one to beat Hillary.

You’d told people that Bill Clinton told you a third party ticket is possible.

Well he’d love that. I love a third party too. I think Bernie Sanders should run on the Green Party. I think that Bernie Sanders should run. I would love to see Bernie Sanders…Now look, I’m running as a Republican. I’m running as a Republican … And honestly they’ve been treating me fairly. I don’t want nice or anything I just want fair. They’ve been very fair.

Both parties approval ratings are falling even as yours have gone up. What’s the problem?

Because I don’t think the people running for office are real. Because Jeb Bush and others will come out against women’s health issues because – and then he’ll say he misspoke. You’ll see that. He misspoke. Five hours late he comes in with the opposite…I really think they have to throw a lot of their consultants away and just be themselves. I think it’s one of the things that’s helped me. You know, I’m a smart person. I don’t have somebody telling me what I should say.

And I don’t want to go against myself either when I believe in something. Because that’s false. I saw it today with … you saw it big league with [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker today. When he made a statement based on my immigration plan and then his consultants said you’ve got to change that. But I think they would do better if they were themselves.

Do you think there’s any chance watching what has happened with you, that here will be a wave of authenticity?

I think that’s what they need. There’s so little authenticity in many of the people that I’m watching. And that includes the other side. Hillary. I mean it certainly includes Hillary…

What’s the most significant learning experience in your life?

Look, I do say this. Just in watching – I give speeches on success for friends and for charities. I put the money into charity. And they pay me a lot. I will say this, over my lifetime I’ve seen a lot of very smart people who were quitters. They never made it. And I’ve seen people that weren’t as smart who never ever, ever gave up. And those were the people that made it. And I’ve seen it to this day. I’ve seen people that graduated … in school who were super geniuses. And they never made it. And I’ve seen people that were not as smart as them and they’re the biggest people out there. And the ones that are the biggest people are the people that never gave up. It’s something I’ve just observed over the years.

So I take it you’re not giving up.

No, I don’t give up.

TIME remembrance

5 Essential Robin Williams Stories

Mar. 12, 1979
Cover Credit: MICHAEL DRESSLER The Mar. 12, 1979, cover of TIME

The comedian died one year ago, on Aug. 11, 2014

This Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of Robin Williams’ surprising death. In honor of the milestone, here are five essential TIME stories chronicling his remarkable career:

The introduction: The first full-fledged TIME article about Williams (excluding a capsule review of Mork & Mindy that ran earlier that fall) was this Oct. 1978 story about how the comic’s career was destined to be much more than Mork.

Most of Williams’ characters are children of his imagination–an imagination nurtured during the requisite lonely childhood. The last child of a vice president of the Ford Motor Co., Robin was born in Chicago and grew up in the posh Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. His two half brothers were already grown when he was born, and Robin spent hours alone in the family’s immense house, tape-recording television routines of comics and sneaking up to the attic to practice his imitations. “My imagination was my friend, my companion,” he recalls.

Subscribers can read the whole story here, in the TIME Vault: The Robin Williams Show

The cover story: Not a year had gone by before Williams was on the cover of TIME, for a story about what it took to top the ratings.

It could be argued that Williams landed in the right role in the right time slot (8 p.m., when children control the nation’s sets). But Williams is not so much lucky as talented. In his stand-up nightclub act, which he does for free, to keep in touch with live audiences and to try out new material, he displays a range that encompasses Jonathan Winters, Danny Kaye, Steve Martin and Daffy Duck. Though always wearing the same costume–baggy pants, loud shirts, suspenders–he whips in and out of a multitude of comic characterizations. He can mimic the cadences of Shakespeare, many foreign languages, an ark of animals, various machines. His act includes a redneck used-car salesman, a Russian comic, a gay director, a touchingly mad grandpa.

Subscribers can read the whole issue here, in the TIME Vault: Chaos in Television

The next step: By the time Richard Schickel reviewed Good Morning, Vietnam in 1987, Williams was firmly enshrined as “the decade’s reigning comic soloist.” In a full-page feature accompanying the review, Richard Corliss reported on Williams’ transition from successful comic to full-on movie star.

Williams needed to find a movie that dirtied his shirt, that liberated his pinwheeling raunch. Now he has. Goodbye, straight-man straitjacket. Good Morning, Vietnam.

Subscribers can read the whole story here, in the TIME Vault: Playtime for Gonzo

The interview: In 2011, around the time of Williams’ Broadway debut, Belinda Luscombe spoke to the actor about the world, his career and the perils of fame.

Is being funny sometimes a hindrance to social interaction?

I was once walking in an airport, and a woman came up to me and said, “Be zany!” That’d be like walking up to Baryshnikov and going, “Plié! Just do a plié! Do it! Do a relevé right now! Lift my wife up!”

Read the full Q&A, free of charge, here on Time.com: 10 Questions for Robin Williams

Read the outtakes here: 10 More Questions With Robin Williams

The end: When news broke of Williams’ death, TIME published a special issue remembering the man and his work. At its center was a stirring remembrance by Richard Corliss, who captured just why those two personas—the human being, the comic—had touched so many people.

For all his serious film roles, which garnered him a Supporting Actor Oscar (for Good Will Hunting) and three Best Actor nominations, Williams at his purest was the id unleashed, geysering nonstop shtick of the highest order. “You’re only given one little spark of madness,” he said. “If you lose that, you’re nothin’.” His spark was a forest fire, a comic conflagration that warmed the world and damaged no one.

Perhaps excepting himself. Addicted to cocaine and alcohol, Williams also made frequent guest appearances at rehab clinics, held over by his own demand. His wild ways exhausted two wives and widowed the third, Susan Schneider, whom by all accounts he adored. He suffered from depression, not a rare malady for comedians, and surrendered to it on Aug. 11, when he hanged himself in his Tiburon, Calif., home. Rigor mortis had already set in when his personal assistant found him. Williams was 63.

Read the full obituary, free of charge, here on Time.com: The Heart of Comedy

TIME Debates

Vote Now: Who Won the First Republican Presidential Debate?

Cast your vote for who came out on top

It’s all over but the shouting. The first Republican presidential primary debate took place on Thursday night, with the 10 leading candidates making their pitches for why they should be the party’s nominee.

But who came out on top? Cast your vote in our reader poll for the person you think won the debate. The results of this poll are not scientific.

TIME debate

The First Fox News Republican Debate Drinking Game

This one is going to hurt

Debate drinking games are usually manageable affairs. The debates only last 90-minutes, they end when it’s late and you can sleep it all off.

This time is harder. There’s a Happy Hour intro, with the minor candidates at 5 p.m. EST, followed by two hours to dry out, followed by a two hour blitz to the bitter end starting at 9 p.m. EST. So beware. Be cautious. Drink responsibly, and only if you are at least 21 years old. Walk home. Or consider switching to Tab.

Here is TIME’s guide to drinking watching the first Republican debate of the 2016 cycle.

  • Stir your swizzle stick the first time Lindsey Graham makes a joke.
  • Shoot some bourbon if he actually gets a moderator to smile.
  • Swear to never drink again if he tells more than five jokes, and one of them involves Obama’s Iran deal.
  • Sip if someone says “Oops.” Finish the drink if that someone is Rick Perry.
  • Finish your drink if Ted Cruz mentions his father’s underwear.
  • Bury the bottle cap in the back yard if anyone mocks Michelle Obama’s White House garden.
  • Drink a glass of water if Marco Rubio is spotted drinking water on stage.
  • Drink a bottle of anything whenever Bobby Jindal completes an entire answer without attacking Obama, Democrats or liberals.
  • Pour yourself a new drink each time Jim Gilmore makes a point. Drink them all at once if you suddenly realize you could vote for him.

Sip for each of the following:

  • Mike Huckabee rails on judges
  • Scott Walker says “Reagan”
  • Rick Santorum attacks Fox News debate selection rules
  • George Pataki brings up 9/11
  • Jeb Bush says “joy,” “joyful,” or “clown”
  • Someone mentions W
  • Someone mentions Monica
  • Someone mentions Romney in a negative way
  • Someone says Benghazi
  • Cruz praises Trump
  • Trump refers to himself in the 3rd person
  • Jeb calls himself “Veto Corleone”
  • Carson says he has no desire to be President
  • Rand namechecks an austrian economist
  • Rand criticizes a moderator
  • Christie says he ‘tells it like it is’
  • Cruz says ‘washington cartel’
  • Kasich gets angry
  • Perry makes an oops joke
  • Jeb Bush says 4%
  • Cruz mentions his father
  • Trump says “Huge,” “Best,” or “Great”
  • Anyone uses the word “rape” or “rapist”
  • Anyone mentions “Cecil the Lion”

Finish everything in the house if Chris Christie names his favored method of birth control.

TIME celebrities

Read the Transcript of Amy Schumer’s Emotional Speech on Gun Control

"I have thought about these victims each day since the tragedy"

Comedian and actress Amy Schumer joined her cousin, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D—N.Y.), to propose gun control measures Monday in the wake of a deadly shooting in Louisiana during a screening of her movie Trainwreck.

The New York Democrat first outlined a three-stage plan to tackle gun violence: firstly, to reward states for sharing information about felons, domestic abusers and mentally ill people, and denying funding to those who don’t; to get the Justice Dept to survey all 50 states on their standards for treating mentally ill people who are a danger to themselves and others; and to get Congress to fully fund mental health and substance abuse programs.

The younger Schumer spoke next, giving an often emotional reaction to the shooting and its aftermath. Here is her statement in full:

For me, the pain I share with so many other Americans on the issue of gun violence was made extremely personal to me on Thursday, July 23 when — I’m not even going to say his name, when this — when he sat down for my movie Trainwreck at the Grand Theater in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Two lives were tragically lost and others injured, and I have thought about these victims each day since the tragedy. Jillian Johnson, 33, a mother, daughter, sister, and a wonderful wife. She was an artist. I think we would have been friends. And Mayci Breaux, who was 21, who planned on marrying her high school sweetheart. She was an honor student at Louisiana State University where she was studying to become a radiology technician. She was kind and loved her family very much and she always made time for them.

When I heard about this news, I was completely devastated. I wanted to go down to Louisiana, and then I was angry. My heart goes out to Jillian and Mayci, to the survivors, to the families and everyone who was tied to the tragic, senseless and horrifying actions of this man who shouldn’t have been able to put his hands on a gun in the first place.

I’m not sure why this man chose my movie to end these two beautiful lives and injure nine others, but it was very personal for me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Louisiana. It’s my favorite state, whenever I have a couple of days off I go down there and I — because I love the people there. They’re the coolest, strongest people I’ve ever met. and the thought of this community being turned around and upside down by this stings me.

Unless something is done and done soon, dangerous people will continue to get their hands on guns. We know what can happen when they do. I was heartbroken when I heard about Columbine and Sandy Hook and Aurora, and so many names of other places seared into our memories, and I was heartbroken when I heard about Lafayette and I still am.

And what Chuck said here, it deserves unanimous support. We never know why people choose to do these things but sadly we always find out how, how the shooter got their gun. It’s often something that should haven’t happened in the first place, and today’s push makes so much sense because it seeks to address the how.

We need a background check system without holes and fatal flaws. We need one with accurate information that protects us like a firewall. The critics scoff and say well, there’s no way to stop crazy people from doing crazy things but they’re wrong. There is a way to stop them. Preventing dangerous people from getting guns is very possible. We have common-sense solutions. We can toughen background checks and stop the sale of firearms to folks who have a violent history or history of mental illness. We can invest more in treating mental illness instead of slashing funding.

These are not extreme ideas and what Chuck is describing are sensible measures and restrictions and no one wants to live in a country where a felon, the mentally ill or other dangerous people can get their hands on a gun with such ease. The time is now for American people to rally for these changes.

These are my first public comments on the issue of gun violence, but I can promise you they will not be my last.

TIME Foreign Policy

Watch Live: Hillary Clinton Calls on Congress to Lift Cuba Embargo

Hilary Clinton speaks at Florida International University in Miami, were she will call Congress to lift the embargo on Cuba

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