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Theresa May Announces Resignation; What Will Happen Between Europe and Britain?; Fraser Nelson, Editor, The Spectator, and Carl Bildt, Co- Chair, European Council on Foreign Relations, are Interviewed about Theresa May and U.K.; Nerdiest President Campaign in History; Andrew Yang, (D), Presidential Candidate, is Interviewed About Why his Running for President. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 24, 2019 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Prime minister Theresa May done in by Brexit hardliners says she will step down. Does this mean Britain will crash out of the E.U.?
Plus, America's politics are no less volatile and Andrew Yang says he's running the nerdiest presidential campaign in history. Can the former tech
exec stand out in a crowded field?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MILIBAND: All of my instincts and all of the facts I was able to gather on a trip there recently are that the situation is getting worse,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The deadly disease Ebola is stalking Africa again. David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee calls for a new
approach to stop the epidemic spiraling out of control.
Welcome to the program, everybody. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Theresa May became prime minister because of Brexit and Brexit has now become her undoing. Nearly three years after the U.K. voted to leave the
European Union, it has still not done so. May negotiated a deal with the E.U. but failed three separate times to get Parliament to agree. So, on
this warm, sunny morning, May took to the podium outside downing street to announce that she is finally surrendering to the fierce opposition from the
Brexit hardliners within her own Conservative Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: I believe it was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high. But it is now clear to me that it is in the best
interest of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort. So, I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and
Unionist Party on Friday, the 7th of June so that a successor can be chosen.
I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold. The second female prime minister but certainly not the last. I do so with
no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: An emotional exit. Indeed, reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher's 29 years ago.
Just to remind you, the U.K. has had, as Theresa May said, only two female prime ministers. Both have been done in by their own party. May will stay
in place through President Donald Trump's state visit in early June, and after that, the Conservative Party launches its contest to select a new
leader who will succeed her also as prime minister.
President Trump addressed her resignation as he left for Japan. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I feel badly for Theresa. I like her very much. She's a good woman. She worked very hard. She's very strong. She
decided to do something that some people were surprised at, some people weren't. It's for the good of her country. But I like her very much. In
fact, I'll be seeing her in two weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And just a reminder that president Trump invited Theresa May as the first leader to the White House shortly after his inauguration.
Now, Fraser Nelson is editor of the conservative leaning "Spectator" magazine. He's here outside Parliament joining me from Abingdon Green
(ph). And Carl Bildt is the former prime minister of Sweden and a keen observer of the battle over Brexit and how it will affect Europe, and he's
joining me from Stockholm.
So, Fraser Nelson, I guess first to you to put into context, describe what you think this means for this country right now, for the Brexit
negotiations, and in Donald Trump's words, do you agree that she stepped down for the good of her country?
FRASER NELSON, EDITOR, THE SPECTATOR: Oh, yes, of course. And the good of her party, the good of the government. She had given everything trying to
get a deal from the E.U. that Parliament would find acceptable, and I don't think anybody can say that she didn't try enough. She tried the vote three
times and still those two ends quite close in the end but didn't quite meet.
So, there is therefore no option if the E.U. won't make any more concessions to try to come up -- to get -- let somebody else try with the
union negotiation, perhaps even with the new European commission. Because let's remember, Europe went to the polls yesterday, the results of this
will eventually be a new European commission and perhaps one which is a little bit more conciliatory with the member states.
So, there's going to be a change of government all around in London and in Brussels. And I guess we'll have to see what the next few months will
AMANPOUR: Golly. Carl, you're a former prime minister and foreign minister of your country, Sweden. So, that is [13:05:00] an interesting
prospect, that the E.U. elections could cause a completely different landscape in Brussels and that could cause a different level, tenor of
negotiations between Europe and Britain. What do you -- what would -- I mean, do you think that's possible?
CARL BILDT, CO-CHAIR, EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: No, I don't think that is likely to happen, because the very extensive work that went
into withdrawal agreement is essentially work done between the U.K. government and the 27 other governments, although, there has been a
negotiated appointed by the commission. So, it is something that is endorsed by all of the 27 governments and prime ministers, and that will
not change with the European Parliament election.
The European parliament role in the Brexit process is somewhat more limited. They have to prove their agreement at the end of the day. But
otherwise, it is with the governments that the negotiations have been held. And the number one government that is taken into account is, of course, the
Irish government and I doubt very much it's going to change in that respect.
AMANPOUR: So, do you think to Fraser's point though that a new party leader, a new British prime minister could get -- I mean, it's a little bit
of the same question, but could get more concessions from Europe?
BILDT: Well, I mean, first, we have to wait and see. No one knows who's going to be the next U.K. prime minister. Say for the sake of argument
that it's, say, Boris Johnson, just to pick one of the possible names, the possibility or the likelihood that he will be seen as a character that you
must now give generous gifts to from Brussels, I think that is somewhat unlikely to put it very mildly.
I think there will be and there has been a willingness to do changes at the so-called political declaration and there have been different
interpretation of the withdrawal agreement but what has been negotiated, I think, is extremely unlikely that will be changed.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, Fraser, I'm going to put to you this idea of a new leader. Obviously, in Britain, the polls show the front runner is Boris
Johnson. You just heard what Carl Bildt said about it. This is what Theresa May said about, essentially, what her successor will face as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honors the result of the referendum. To succeed, he or she will have to find
consensus in Parliament where I have not. Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Fraser, Boris -- sorry, yes, Boris Johnson is a hardliner. I mean, he's a Brexiteer, a fierce Brexiteer. He led the Brexit campaign.
He was the face of Brexit. I mean, is he going to get a compromise with all sides? Is it going to be easier to come to an agreement that
Parliament will accept?
NELSON: I'm not sure I'd call him a hardliner. I mean, sure, he backed Brexit, but an opinion poll last week showed that half of the country still
backs Brexit. And part of the reason that Theresa May is going is because there's a new Brexit party that didn't exist two weeks ago. But -- we
gathered it's got about a third of the votes in the European Parliament election.
So, if you want Brexit it doesn't make you a hardliner, it just means you want to leave the European Union and you're not prepared to wait
indefinitely as it seemed we were going to do under Theresa May. But it's not just Boris Johnson who will say that, "By the way, if we can't get the
E.U.'s compromise then we leave without a deal." He will say that but so will any other likely challenger, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, (INAUDIBLE)
Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, he would be endorsing a no-deal Brexit as an alternative if the E.U. won't compromise.
So, I'm not quite -- this is going to be the mainstream position, I think, from anybody who will -- is the serious contender to the seat of (ph)
Theresa May, that if the E.U. won't compromise, in the way that Carl Bildt suggests it won't, I'm not quite sure I agree with him there, I think they
will be a bit more flexible, but if they won't compromise, then we will have to leave without a deal on the 31st of October, and not just Boris
Johnson but several leadership contenders are going to be saying that.
AMANPOUR: So, Fraser, I don't want to be tautological, but the idea that a no-deal Brexit will become mainstream does not negate the fact that that is
the hardline position, and this is what Carl Bildt has tweeted today.
So, Carl, I'm going to ask you. "The Brexit hardline membership of the Conservative Party will choose a new leader with a mandate to crash out of
the E.U. as soon as possible. I fear that's the brutal reality of the situation. Brexit means breakdown." Will Europe allow Britain to crash
out, Carl Bildt? Does it have any option to prevent that?
BILDT: Well, it doesn't wish it. It has -- is spending a lot of energy into doing a withdrawal agreement, negotiating that over [13:10:00] months
and months, negotiating a political agreement or political declaration on the future relationship. So, enormous efforts have gone into this from the
European Union side. But it has all been hampered by the uncertainties and the divisions and the divides in the U.K. and by the inability of the U.K.
political system to come up with a coherent position.
But it's worth stressing that, of course, the European Union has been negotiating not with Theresa May as a person but with the United Kingdom as
a nation and as with the U.K. government. And the position of the European Union is not dependent upon the one or the other individual being sort of
leader of the Conservative Party or leader of the U.K. government but it's depending upon the facts of the matter.
And I happen to believe that with all of the problems associated with it and the different compromises, the withdrawal agreement that Theresa May
negotiated was a rather honorable one, which sought solutions to the tricky issues of the immediate withdrawal issues, including the Irish issue. And
I doubt very much that it can be done differently and I think there will be reluctant to open up that. That will also be a very short period of time.
And I think Boris Johnson has now said that he will not seek an extension, he only has a couple of weeks, that everything can be done in a couple
weeks. Unfortunately, unlikely -- I think, unfortunately, it is likely that we are heading for a crash.
AMANPOUR: And it must be said that there are quite a few members of European governments who have spoken today, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland
have all expressed concern, expressed worry that this could be even a more dangerous situation than we already have had.
But I want to turn to you, Fraser, because you have written quite extensively on Boris Johnson. I mean, you said -- you've basically said
two things in your latest writing. "He is the best candidate to present the conservatives as a force for change. In fact, he might be the only
candidate able a to do so." And then you say, so that was the case for him. But the case against him is just as easily made, "That he's a
showman, exposed as such when he last ran to be prime minister, et cetera." I want you to expand on that. Tell me about how he could be his own worst
enemy and vice versa.
NELSON: Well, he's a deeply divisive character. I think it's safe to say there's almost nobody in that Parliament behind me who divides opinion as
much as Boris Johnson. On one level he's got huge numbers of fans. He's a sort of politician who can sort of change the mood of a shopping center
just by going into it. And he's got sort of Trump characteristics which, you know, a lot of people like and a lot of people really hate but he's
also got that sort of Trump ability to hog the oxygen of publicity to kind of make the sort of universe bends towards him in a funny kind of way.
Now, that can be an advantage if you're a politician, especially if you're trying to get one over on Nigel Farage. A few months ago, the
Conservatives would never really have thought of Boris Johnson because they dislike him, the MPs dislike him for exactly that reason. They think that
he's more of an entertainer rather than a politician, he doesn't spend time trying to make friends or build alliances with other politicians, he seems
to use his public appeal as a shortcut to doing a lot of hard political work.
So -- and these and many other reasons is why his leadership failed last time around. But then again, you can't deny that he is a winner, an
election winner. He twice was elected mayor of London, which is a Labour left-wing city. He also, when he joined the Leaf Campaign, nobody thought
that campaign was going to win, nobody thought Brexit would be approved by a referendum. And it was Boris Johnson's energy, his kind of optimism and
flare which gave that edge.
So, if the Conservative Party is worried that faces an existential threat, because that what it does right now. I know some Tories who think there's
not going to be a single Conservative MEP left in the European Parliament when the votes are counted among them. They think they're about to lose
their jobs, they will take a desperate measure and Boris Johnson is that desperate measure.
AMANPOUR: Oh, boy. It doesn't fill me with great confidence to know that he's a desperate measure. Let me just read what some of the British, U.K.
and Scottish politicians are saying because Boris, of course, sent out a tweet saying, "How very dignified it was, the statement from Theresa May.
Thank you for your stoical service." Obviously, he's been one of those putting the knife in her back ever since she took the prime ministership.
And Nicola Sturgeon, senior first minister of Scotland, acknowledged that by saying, "What a hypocrite," when she retweeted his tweet.
But she's also said, Nicola Sturgeon, and this is very important, "The prospect of an even more hardline Brexiteer now becoming prime minister and
threatening a no-deal exit is deeply concerning. Added to the experience of the past three years, this makes it all the more important that Scotland
is given the choice of becoming an independent country."
So, Fraser, could we now be seeing the dissolution of the United Kingdom, the dis-United Kingdom, [13:15:00] whether it's independence in Scotland or
eventual reunification of the Republic of Ireland with Northern Ireland?
NELSON: No, I really don't think so, for a fundamental measure. What Nicola Sturgeon will never tell you is that 2 in 5 Scots voted for Brexit.
If you look at the opinion polls in Scotland for the European Parliament, Nigel Farage's Brexit party is in second place ahead of Labour, ahead of
Liberal Democrats, ahead of Conservatives.
So, I mean, sure, Scotland not as keen on Brexit as England, about half of English people wanted Brexit, 2/5 of Scots did, but there's not that night
and day difference that would lead Scotland to secede if Britain does walk down this path. And the opinion poll since the Brexit referendum have
shown that Nicola Sturgeon doesn't have anywhere near the supports she would need to have a tilt at independence. I mean, she might try to get in
a way that in Quebec, they had a second referendum but she knows if you lose a second referendum as in Quebec, it's difficult to have a third.
AMANPOUR: Let me just turn to you, Carl, because you have the international perspective of Boris Johnson. He was obviously foreign
minister and there are many, many leaders who have told many of us, off the record, of their true feelings about the intellectual capabilities in terms
of actual administering and his often lack of preparedness for the actual job.
How do you think he is going to be viewed? I know you said it's not with a person, it's with a government that the E.U. negotiates with, but there
will be a face and there will be a voice to that government.
BILDT: It was, of course, a rather daring move by Theresa May to make Boris Johnson foreign secretary as she did. And I belong to those that
thought that might have been smart because it might have been the possibility for him to start to build bridges with other European leaders
and sort of create the goodwill that might be necessary for the U.K. as it was heading fairly rough time in these particular negotiations. But I
think it's fair to say that he didn't spend any time building confidence with or building bridges with the rest of Europe. And that impression is
still left there, apart from the other factors that you indicated.
Is there a possibility that he will do next in China, that he would be completely different, that everything will be turned upside down? Nothing
can be excluded in this kind of world that we are living in these days, but time is extremely short. And therefore, I remain fairly sort of
pessimistic, I'm sorry to say, highly regrettable from the European Union point of view, everything that we are seeing happening now.
AMANPOUR: So, could I just also say because it's somewhat highly regrettable from a global economic perspective too, according to the IMF,
the International Monetary Fund, which says a no-deal Brexit could push the U.K. economy into a two-year recession while also posing one of the
greatest risks to the global economic growth.
To this end, I know, Fraser, you don't believe it, I know you don't, but that's what the experts on the economy say and I want to play what the
president of the European Union has said to us at CNN. This is Jean-Claude Juncker recently, this week, in fact.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: I'm a little bit fed up because we are going from one extension to the next extension and we are
imagining the next extension after the next extension. People are losing patience. We have to stop this process because it's harming the general
atmosphere in Europe, it's harming the growth perspectives worldwide, I have to say, because we have two problems when it comes to the
international economy, the trade dispute between the U.S. and China and we have this Brexit issue. This is not helping the economic growth worldwide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, a very worried president of the European Commission. Last word to you, Fraser, has to be quite short. Why are you shaking your head?
Why don't you believe what the experts are saying on the global economy?
NELSON: Because you have to look at what they said after the last time, after the Brexit referendum. These same people were saying that even the
votes for Brexit would tip Britain into recession. Half a million job losses were predicted by the votes, let alone Brexit.
Theresa May stands down today after presiding over a million jobs created in the three years that she was there. And Brexit has not had the effect,
which they predicted last time, which makes me a bit less inclined to believe the same people making the same forecasts this time.
AMANPOUR: All right. Fraser Nelson, Carl Bildt, thank you both so much.
And we turn now to the United States which, of course, is gearing up for its own chaotic political race while Donald Trump wears his MAGA hat.
Democratic presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, wears a hat that says, MATH. The former tech executive is an unabashed numbers lover who calls
his [13:20:00] campaign the nerdiest in history.
Born in New York to Taiwanese parents, Yang's story is unique in a crowded Democratic field. But can he pull away from that pack? Hari Sreenivasan
tries to find out.
HARI SREENIVASAN, ANCHOR, PBS NEWSHOUR: Why are you running for president?
ANDREW YANG, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm running for president to try and solve the problems that got Donald Trump elected in 2016. And the most
direct cause of his victory was that we automated away 4 million factory jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri and Iowa, and if
that list of states sounds familiar, those are all the swing states he needed to win.
And now, my friends in technology know that what we did to the manufacturing workers we will now do to the retail workers, the call center
workers, the fast-food workers, the truck drivers and on and on through the economy. We're in the midst of the greatest economic transformation in the
history of the country, what experts are calling the fourth industrial revolution. And I'm running for president to wake America up to the fact
that it's not immigrants that are causing dislocations around the country, it is technology and evolving economy, and then enacting meaningful
solutions that will help American transition through this time.
SREENIVASAN: Somebody is going to say, why not start at, I don't know, mayor, work your way up?
YANG: Well, unfortunately, we're way behind the curve. We don't have that much time. If you look at the numbers now, 30 percent of malls and stores
are closing in the next four years because Amazon is soaking up $20 billion in business every year, and being a retail cashier is the number one job in
the economy. Being a trucker is the most common job in 29 states, and robot trucks are five to 10 years away.
So, if I bided my time and ran for mayor, you know, many of these challenges would get far, far ahead of us. If they aren't already ahead of
SREENIVASAN: You know, Former Vice President Biden was recently making a speech the other day, which is the first priority has to be to beat Donald
Trump. And you have said multiple times, "I'm the candidate to beat Donald Trump because I am laser focused on the problems that him elected in the
first place, but I'm his opposite. What I am saying is that the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math." Is it really that simple?
YANG: It may well be that simple. But I'm already drawing thousands of Trump supporters, Independents, Libertarians, Conservatives. Someone in
Iowa came up to me and said, "You're what I hoped for when I voted for Donald Trump." Think about that for a second. And of course, I'm drawing
many Democrats and Progressives who are excited about the fact that we can put resource into the hands of families and children and start recognizing
the work that women in particular do in our families and communities every day.
So, I'm getting Americans from every point in the political spectrum, including the 25 percent who are politically disengaged. And because of
this, I can build a much bigger, broader coalition to beat Donald Trump in 2020.
SREENIVASAN: Did you take some inspiration from the idea that an outsider could do this?
YANG: Well, certainly I would never be running for president if Donald Trump had not won in 2016. To me, his election was a giant red flag to the
progress of our country where if you -- you have to take a step back and say tens of millions of Americans were desperate enough to take a bet on a
narcissist reality TV star as our president. So, that, to me, should be a stop sign for Americans and many walks of life.
It was for me. And I said, "OK. How did this happen? We'd automated away millions of manufacturing jobs in the swing states, scapegoated immigrants,
what are we going to do about it." This is not a conversation I was seeing being had in our political circles. And so, I said, "This is why I'm going
to run for president." So, in a way, Trump definitely inspired me to run.
SREENIVASAN: You know, in some ways, you're also stacking certain lobbies against you when you look at some of these policy proposals. You want to
create a department of attention economy to help study technology like smartphones, how they might be harming us, and regulate companies, apps,
games, social media, you want to create on a cabinet level, secretary of the Department of Technology, you want to regulate A.I. and emerging
technology, you got the VAT tax, those seems like government overreach to a tech industry that's largely gone unregulated. You want everyone to be
automatically able to e-file their taxes, sort of reversing it, right?
YANG: Yes, seriously.
YANG: Because everything is (INAUDIBLE).
SREENIVASAN: Yes. And then --
YANG: -- some tax experts.
SREENIVASAN: And I can see, you know, intuit and H&R Block lining up against you there. You want to make economic crimes punishable, so you
want to hold the financial companies to account. I can see bankers and CEOs that want to fund your opponents just based on that single policy,
right. All of these different smaller constituencies have become very powerful lobbies groups over time.
YANG: It sounds like you've been in D.C.
SREENIVASAN: No, no, no. But it's -- unfortunately, that's kind of part of the reason that we have this sclerosis that we have is how do you change
that kind of a system that keeps people who are speaking your truth from actually getting the votes necessary?
YANG: Well, I've raised millions of dollars from everyday Americans around the country and increments of only $19 each. So, my fans are even cheaper
than Bernie's. So, you know, if you get the people on your side, then you can win an election in a [13:25:00] democracy.
But it is not as cut and dry to saying, "Oh, these people are going to be for me or against me." There are over 100 technologists and CEOs who have
come out and endorsed my candidacy. Because if you sit with them and say, "Hey, are you concerned about the future?" A lot of them are.
YANG: Like a lot of them are not bad people and they're not even solely economically motivated. They're parents, they're Americans, they grew up
in the Midwest.
YANG: And if you say, "We need to come together and create a system that works well for everyone, there are a lot of CEOs that will embrace that.
SREENIVASAN: You know, the biggest policy that you are arguing for, universal basic income, which would put $1,000 into the hands of every
citizen every month pretty much no questions asked. You're calling it the freedom dividend because it polls better with Republicans that way.
SREENIVASAN: Now, Republicans might just come back and say, "This is just, you know, another socialist redistribution plan." How do you think it's
going to work, and how do we pay for it?
YANG: Well, I'll start with how to pay for it. So, even Conservatives do not like the fact that Amazon, a trillion-dollar tech company, paid zero in
federal taxes last year. They know that's not the way our system should be designed. And so, the way we pay for our freedom dividend for every
American is we follow every other advanced economy in the world and have a value added tax.
And because America's economy is up to a record $20 trillion plus, up $5 trillion in the last 12 years, even a mild value added tax would generate
$800 billion in new revenue. That plus economic growth from having all this consumer buying power in Americans' hands, lowered direct costs on
things like incarceration and homelessness services and emergency room healthcare and then the value gains from having a stronger, healthier,
better educated population would be enough to pay for a dividend of $1,000 a month. This is the trickle-up economy from people, families, and
In terms of Conservatives and their either excitement or lack thereof for this proposal, there's one state in the U.S. that has a dividend right now,
and that state is Alaska and it was passed by a Republican governor, deep red state, and it's wildly popular. Many Conservatives and Libertarians
and Independents really like the idea of a dividend because it puts more decision making into their hands as opposed to the government.
SREENIVASAN: Look, value added tax, there's going to be people -- right now, any time you hear a word of tax, Conservatives or Republicans, Fiscal
Conservatives will come out and say this is a job killer, right? And if you say you want to tax companies like Amazon, there are shareholders that
penalize those companies. So, how do you get over those two big hurdles?
YANG: I addressed 70 CEOs at a conference recently here in New York and I asked how many of them are looking at using A.I. to displace like thousands
of back office workers. Every single hand went up. So then when you ask them, "Hey, do you think it's reasonable to have some sort of measure so
that the American people have a path forward," it's not unanimous but it's about 50/50. Like many reasonable CEOs look up and say, "You know what, my
incentives and my position are to maximize profitability on a quarterly basis, which means if someone has this A.I. solution that enables me to get
rid of workers, I have to take it."
So, they see their own incentives and they see that it's going to be disastrous for many American workers and many of them are open to different
sorts of solutions for the broader population.
SREENIVASAN: So, $12,000 a year, that's still below the poverty line, that's not enough to survive on. So, does that mean that people, let's
say, they're pursuing the things that do make them happy versus slogging through some horrible job? Does that mean they pick up more part-time work
that are kind of economical role productivity decreases or that perhaps wages decrease considering the market says, "Well, maybe I don't need to
pay everybody so much because they have $12,000 coming in," or prices increase a little bit saying that bag of chips can go up a couple more
cents because everybody has this in their pockets?
YANG: Well, the first thing it does is it puts more money into the economy. It would grow the consumer economy by about 12 percent, it would
create at least 2 million new jobs right in main street communities where people can actually need the jobs instead of thinking someone's going to,
you know, move to Seattle or something.
So, there's just more work to be done when people have more buying power and it would also help recognize a lot of the work that's done in families
and homes and communities every day. Most of it is done by women, people like my wife, who's at home with our two boys, one of whom is autistic.
Right now, the market values her work at zero, GDP would value her work at zero, but we know that's the opposite of the truth, that her work is as
important and challenging as any other work that's being done.
So, this would actually make us more productive in many ways because it would free people up to do the kind of work they want to do, much of which
might not be showing up in GDP, which in my view is a very flawed and incomplete measurement.
SREENIVASAN: You've got a bunch of different proposals on your site besides universal basic income. So, I want to get to a couple of those.
You know, you call for a hundred prosperity dollars for every American that can donate to nonprofits.
You've got 100 democracy dollars for every American that they can put toward elections. So instead of waiting for Citizens United to be rolled
over or turned over, you want to add more money into the system. That would cost you $23 billion. You got an American exchange program. You want to
take high school seniors and have them travel to different parts of the country for six weeks, free marriage counseling for everyone.
You want to increase teacher salaries, and the sort of specifics you say you're going to work with the states on that. You want to create American
journalism fellows. Good for us, good for me, but that's going to cost a $6 billion fund to help that. And you want to attract people, as you were
talking about, to dying malls and rethink how they could be used. How does all this get paid for?
YANG: And this is one thing that I have to say, like, I get very passionate about, is it's incredible how successfully we've been brainwashed into
thinking that we don't have the resources. Again, our economy's up to a record $20 trillion. We are the richest, most advanced economy in the
history of the world.
We can easily afford these things. What's happening right now is that to the extent money is getting spent, it's getting caught up in various
systems and bureaucracies that are not really delivering the benefits that the American people expect. And that's one reason why we're getting so
SREENIVASAN: Abortion's been in the news a lot recently as states are opting in to restrict it until courts challenge this all. On your site, you
say that basically if men were getting pregnant, we wouldn't have restrictions on reproductive rights. You also say requirements placed by
individual states on access should be subject to oversight by a board of doctors, not the whims of legislators. So how do you get to that vision of
yours from where we are today?
YANG: As you can tell, I'm very pro women's reproductive rights, and as a male legislator, I don't think it should be up to me what women do. I would
leave it -- I would leave the room and let women decide. I have a feeling I know how women would come out. But the best way we can protect women's
rights is to make sure that Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land.
And the best way to make that happen would be to have the Supreme Court reflect, in my mind, the views of the American people. And right now, the
Supreme Court's been politicized in a disastrous way, so there are a couple changes I would make. Number one is we should move away from lifetime
appointments to 18-year terms, which would help depoliticize and make it less of a firestorm.
SREENIVASAN: Why 18?
YANG: Oh, well that would -- if you had nine justices, then that would mean that you get an appointment every two years. It's fairly predictable; each
president gets two. But it's ridiculous that we're hyperventilating over whether an 86-year-old woman gets a cold. You know, that's not a way a
modern country should operate.
And then the second thing is that there's nothing in the Constitution about the number of justices on the Supreme Court. It's been lower than nine;
it's been higher than nine, and other countries have had higher numbers in part so that when someone steps down it's not as big a deal.
SREENIVASAN On climate change, you say the federal government should support local efforts through funding and market based incentives, meaning
YANG: Well, right now, if there's a big company that emits a lot of carbon into the - into the air, they're not really internalizing that cost in
economic terms. So the way we help monetize it is we have a carbon fee and dividend.
SREENIVASAN: And not a tax?
YANG: Well, I mean, you could call it a tax. You could call it a fee. I mean, you know, it has the same effect. But the point is that polluters
should be internalizing the cost of their emissions, which then provides an incentive for them to reduce those emissions and they can even innovate,
get their emissions down and then sell those credits to another company. Those are the market mechanisms that would help us get emissions under
control much more quickly.
SREENIVASAN: OK. Immigration's another hot topic that we're thinking about and talking about a lot right now. You'd support the DREAM Act. You'd
increase funding for border security and create a pathway to citizenship that would mean a new category of permanent resident who'd have to wait 18
years for citizenship, about the age that - when we could vote, right? Why do you think congress agrees to this versus the impasse that they have had
for the last 20 years, when they've tried to make different steps at comprehensive immigration reform?
YANG: Well, if you remember, there was a time when Marco Rubio was leading a bipartisan effort that looked very much like the proposal that I'm
championing. And then he lost a bit of political courage. He figured out that he would be bad for him politically, and then - you know, like, then
we never heard from it again. But most Americans agree that this is a common sense approach that we need to pursue.
If you have over 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., which we do, it's completely ridiculous to suggest somehow that we're going to
deport 12 million people. It's practically impossible. It would collapse regional economies. It would
be inhumane and separate families. So we need to own the fact that these people are in our country, and we need to figure out a path forward for
them and again, republicans were for this before they started scapegoating immigrants to the extent they have recently.
SREENIVASAN: Regarding China, you have talked repeatedly about figuring out a better relationship forward with them, about not seeing their gains as
our losses, and at the same time, you also mention that their advantage in artificial intelligence is massive, the amount of data that they have
access to, and that if we had a lead, they're catching up on that, if not going to pass us on that.
They're also increasing right now their global influence with dozens of countries through their Belt and Road Initiative at a time when the United
States seems to be pulling back in how we engage with the world. And you've got estimates - by some estimates right now that on the western side
of their country, you've got a million Uyghurs who are in reeducation camps in 2019. So what are you willing to compromise to keep our t-shirts cheap?
YANG: Well, I wouldn't -- certainly wouldn't simplify it to that extent. I mean, there's a much more complex relationship than cheap t-shirts.
YANG: But to me, the temptation is to view any rise in China's wealth and influence as somehow detrimental to American interests. That would be
something that America's kind of have a -- had a natural tendency in the past. And so, if we head down that road, then we're going to wind up
certainly with a trade war as we're seeing now and potentially a cold war and maybe even worse over time.
I mean, we have to see that China's development is historic in nature and does not necessarily mean that our standard of living or our stature in the
world is necessarily going to decline in an absolute way. So the goal is to try and find the win-win where U.S.-China relationships are concerned. And
I talked about - you know, I talk about AI a fair amount.
Like, we need to maintain a leadership position so that we can more effectively, frankly, like, be at the table so that China feels like they
need to work with us. And so, there is an element of focusing on our own competitiveness, but here's also an element in trying to avoid the zero-sum
game that would lead us to a cold war with China.
SREENIVASAN: You know, there's this weird factor that American voters have, which is do I want to have a beer with the guy or do I want to sit down and
invite him into my home. Here you are, traveling around the country now. What's your kind of elevator pitch to them? How do you introduce yourself?
YANG: Well, you know, it's fun. I mean I sit with Americans all over the country. And I'm not sure where I rate on the have a beer factor, but there
are crowds of thousands of Americans coming out to our events and rallies.
SREENIVASAN: Yes, but considering there's 20 other candidates, how do you breakthrough? Obviously there's the policy proposal, that's pretty exciting
right now. But how do you introduce yourself as a person that they can connect with?
YANG: Well, that's one of the fun parts of this process, just introducing myself to more Americans.
SREENIVASAN: You know, what are the values that drive you? Where did you come from? You know what I mean? What's the kind of thing that say, OK, I
trust this guy, I've looked him in the eye, I've shook his hands, I got it?
YANG: You know, what's fun is I actually think I'm introducing myself through the policies and through the problem-solving approach, is that
Americans at this point have lost patience with political narrative of symbols and anger and cults of personality. Like, they're more interested
in how to solve the problems of the day, and when they see someone focused on solving those problems, to many Americans, that's a breath of fresh air.
SREENIVASAN: Andrew Yang, thanks so much.
YANG: Thanks. Great to be here with you.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: And there certainly is no shortage of problems to be solved. For instance, Ebola, which is striking again in Africa, the horrors
of that sickness were in plain sight, of course, back in 2014, when a massive outbreak ravaged West Africa, killing more than 10,000 people. The
heroes of that story, those who risked their lives to stop the spread, were "Time" magazine's Person of the Year in 2014.
But now, Ebola is coming back in the heart of the continent, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than a thousand already dead. And
this time, those heroes, the healthcare workers, are themselves being attacked, and the outbreak is occurring in a conflict zone.
The president of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, is just back from the DRC, where he saw the crisis close up. Miliband is the
former U.K. foreign secretary, and he's not only focused on this issue but also on other crises, for instance, the treatment of asylum seekers at the
southern border of the United States. And I asked him about all of this when he joined me from New York earlier, just before this crisis developed
in British politics.
AMANPOUR: David Miliband, welcome to the program.
DAVID MILIBAND, PRESIDENT & CEO, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: Thanks, Christiane. Good to be with you.
AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary that we seem to be seeing -- or on the verge of maybe another Ebola epidemic, this time obviously in Congo. How did it
get so big so fast?
MILIBAND: Well, that's one thing that is unique about this Ebola outbreak. It's the first Ebola outbreak to take place in a conflict zone.
The epicenter of the outbreak, Butembo, is an area in the far east of the Democratic Republic of Congo where there are at least 20 different armed
groups just in that narrow area and probably 60 in the wider province. And this is something which poses special challenges when you're trying to
build public trust, which is the foundation of an effective Ebola response.
It must seem incredible to your viewers that health centers are being burned down. But 10 months into the outbreak, that is the case because the
Ebola treatment centers are seen as agents of central government against which the local people have a high degree of animus. So this is why it's
uniquely challenging. It's now 10 months into the outbreak, and all of my instincts and all of the facts I was able to gather on a trip there
recently are that the situation is getting worse, not better.
AMANPOUR: And do you think, because everybody obviously remembers, in West Africa, how awful it was there, and then how terrified everybody was that
it was going to spread beyond Africa into America, Europe, et cetera. Does this have the same potential?
MILIBAND: Well, I think at this stage it's important not to engender a global panic, but it is right to call for a global reset on the response.
Let me explain what I mean. At the moment, there are about a thousand people dead, just over - just under 1,100. There have been about 1,800
cases. That compares with the West Africa outbreak of 2014, when over 10,000 people died. So in terms of order of magnitude, this is the second
largest outbreak but it's only one-tenth of the scale of the worst outbreak.
Having said that, there's a real concern that the number of cases is being masked by the shutdown of services that's resulted from the attacks on the
health centers, and this does become an international problem if or when the outbreak spreads from, Butembo, the current epicenter to Goma, on the
Rwanda-Uganda border. That's the heart of the cross border trade, and obviously if the outbreak was to spread to Goma, that would pose enormous
regional concerns. Our concern at the International Rescue Committee is that community trust is marked by its absence.
There is a real fear that the treatment of Ebola is something that's seen as an alien or outside force, the association of international agencies
with a national government which is disliked. Remember, this is an area where the national government cancelled the elections in December. It's a
heartland of the opposition, and that trust gap is the biggest danger at the moment, because it lies at the core of the risk that Ebola spreads and
AMANPOUR: You know, when you say trust gap, it just reminds me to put it into context, maybe, for Americans. This outbreak of measles in New York,
for instance, there's this trust gap. There's this misinformation that's delivered that is causing, or at least exacerbating, these outbreaks.
And I wonder what you make of the director general of the WHO, the World Health Organization, who says, "When we cannot reach people, they do not
get the chance to be vaccinated or to receive treatments if they fall ill. The tragedy is that we have the technical means to stop Ebola, but until
all parties halt attacks on the response, it will be very difficult to end this outbreak." I know you've talked about attacks, and the WHO have logged
about 120 on their staff alone. How does one get beyond this, for want of a better word, trust deficit?
MILIBAND: Well, the quote that you made from Dr. Tedros, the head of the world health organization, is absolutely right. It's been notable and
hugely welcome, the way he's devoted himself to visiting the area, talking to local people. And I think he's now identified a core problem. This is
not just a public health problem. It's a political problem, because that's what the absence of trust marks.
And all of our experience is that you have to hire local people. You have to train local people. You need community outreach that is led by local
people, and you need the spokespeople for the response to be local, trusted people, whether they're from civil society, the church or elsewhere,
because if this is seen as an international opposition, it won't command the confidence that's necessary. The good news is that in contrast to West
Africa, 100,000 people have been vaccinated.
That's a tribute to the WHO. But I'm afraid we need to go much, much further in winning local trust if we're to ensure that the local population
does escape. Remember, a million people live in, Butembo, this epicenter of the outbreak. And whether it be health system or the security system, it
needs to be run on the basis of local consent. And that is what is lacking at the moment.
We're very conscious, as an international non-governmental organization, that we need to employ local people if we're to win their confidence in
this outbreak. We'd also say that the international agencies need to listen to the NGOs, the non-governmental organizations, because they are locally
rooted. And as far as we can see, the actual number of cases is probably higher than that which is recorded.
The interruption of services means that there's a real danger that the contact tracing, every time there is a -- someone identified with Ebola,
you need to make sure you reach the 10, 20, even 30 people who they've been in contact with. It's also important, finally, to remember, you made the
parallel with measles and the determination of some people in the west not to have those vaccines. There's a big difference.
Ebola is actually quite hard to spread. It's spread not orally, it's spread by the exchange of bodily fluids. The most dangerous moment is if someone
touches a dead body. And so, we've got to make sure that there isn't a panic but there is a reset in the way the response is organized. Because
remember, it's ten months now since this first case was seen, and we have to recognize there needs to be a change of approach if this epidemic is to
AMANPOUR: I mean, it does sound pretty scary. And interesting, though, that you are on the ground there, and you're not a medical organization. You are
the International Rescue Committee. And also you are at the southern border of the United States, and it's incredible to read and to digest that for
the second straight month, 100,000 or more people have not just crossed but been put into detention. What is the state of the humanitarian crisis at
the southern border as far as your personnel and your organization is concerned?
MILIBAND: So, the International Rescue Committee is concerned with people whose lives are shattered by conflict, disaster or persecution, and that
explains why we are fighting Ebola in a war-torn part of the Eastern Democrat Republic of Congo. It also explains why we've had to deploy to the
Southern United States, where there are people coming from what's called the Northern Triangle. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, these are
places consumed by gang related conflict. And they're fleeing to seek safety.
I'd say two things about what's happening at the southern border. First of all, I was in El Salvador last -- the month before last, and it's evident
there that that country and its new government need support to stabilize the situation at source. The Trump administration, President Trump, have
talked about cutting aid to El Salvador. That seems like the opposite of what would be an appropriate response because we know that international
aid to countries like El Salvador actually makes a difference to stabilize them.
Secondly, at the southern border, you're right to point out that it's tragic, really, that we have had to deploy some staff, in one case,
actually away from the Ebola situation towards the situation at the southern border. And the reason that we do so is the proper planning and
preparation has not been done to process the asylum cases. We've got 100 asylum seekers being dumped at a bus station on a weekend, and we've had to
put shelters together to help them register, to help them find their relatives.
In many cases, they've got relatives in other parts of the U.S., so they can go and stay with them. And so the second part of this is obviously that
the U.S. system for processing asylum claims is not working in a fair or efficient way. And from our point of view, you need to tackle this problem
both at source in the Northern Triangle but also make sure that you uphold the basic systems for asylum processing that a rich country should be able
AMANPOUR: And certainly by the actions, you can see that they can't deal with all these people. Apparently, according to "The New York Times," the
government is flying tens of thousands of these migrants who are crossing from Texas to holding areas in California.
The president himself has just told Congress that the number of unaccompanied minors is dramatically increasing, and he's asked for about
$1.5 billion in extra aid for housing. Do you think the president, by making that request, is recognizing the humanitarian nature now of this
crisis, because obviously, publicly, he portrays it as a dangerous sort of criminal enterprise and a gateway to only criminals.
MILIBAND: Well, I think it is right to recognize that in a situation where the processing of asylum claims in the U.S. is taking three or four years,
but in Germany it's taking eight to 10 weeks, there's a real responsibility on the U.S. administration to process cases properly. It's also important
to say that in the backlog of cases that exist, you've got a wide range of situations.
You've got unaccompanied children but you've also got grandmothers who have been living here for 15 or 20 years and have been picked up in a range of
raids on those who lack documentation. And I think it's really important to learn from common sense, as well as experience, which tells you that you
have to separate out the cases between the serious and the simple. You have -- the complex and the simple.
You've also got to make sure that you resource the system properly because as a humanitarian organization, we're the first to say that those who do
have good grounds for claiming asylum should be allowed to remain in the U.S. or in another country where they claim asylum. If they don't have good
grounds, then obviously they shouldn't be allowed to stay, but that requires administration of the system in a fair and efficient way. If the
president's new request speaks to that, then all for the good.
AMANPOUR: We're on the verge of European elections. It is Nigel Farage and his Brexit party that are leading in the polls. Again, is that something
that's going to be a lasting impact on the landscape, and how does a big win for Nigel Farage in Europe affect the Brexit negotiations and the final
shape of Brexit?
MILIBAND: Well, I think that the nightmare of Brexit isn't just about the result of the referendum three years ago, which obviously I bemoaned, but
the three years since have meant that no one's satisfied, neither those who voted for leave, nor those who voted for remain.
I always say that if the government had proceeded in a different way after the 2016 referendum, if it tried to recognize the full nature of the result
and negotiated a departure from the European union that respected the different points of view, then I don't think we would be in a situation
where you've got the polarization between those who say we need a no deal Brexit, which anyone with an element of economic common sense realizes is a
hugely risky enterprise.
There's not a single country that works solely on WTO terms, which is what the no deal advocates say is the nirvana. On the other hand, you've got
people who are now saying, "Look, there's no middle way. We need to have a proper national referendum on the proposals, the detailed proposals for
Brexit." And I think Britain faces - because of the way both conservative and labor have handled the Brexit issue over the last three years, you face
a period of distinct polarization.
What I think is impossible for Nigel Farage or anyone on the Brexit side to claim is that their victory will mean the end of the Brexit nightmare,
because the truth is, whether you have a May -- a Theresa May style Brexit or a no deal Brexit, there are many years of negotiations ahead in order to
fashion some kind of relationship between the U.K. and the rest of the EU in the future.
And so, from a -- from the point of view of someone like me who's British, who's concerned about the fate of the country and its inability to address
some of its more pressing issues, I think that there is a real concern that we are facing a never-ending nightmare rather than a one that's coming to a
AMANPOUR: And add into that mix what Russia's intentions may be, because the general analysis is that Russia looks to see the divisions wherever
they might be and to profit from them. What do you think Russia's end game is now, and what would it be agitating for in Europe, in Britain and
MILIBAND: Well, it's interesting that you should say that. I went back to the U.K. during the referendum campaign and made the foreign policy
argument about the dangers of Brexit. I called it unilateral political disarmament, because it was pulling Britain out of an alliance of
democratic nations and it was weakening liberal democracy.
And of course if you're sitting in the Kremlin at the moment, you want to see the unity of the liberal democratic nations weakened. The insidious
assault that's going on inside democratic -- western democratic nations with Russian funding, that was notable in the French situation, there are
allegations of that in the U.K, obviously mean that disunity is in the interest of the Russian state at the moment, European disunity.
They've always feared a more unified European Union, a more unified European continent. And I'm afraid there are both external, as well as
internal forces, that are leading to the fracturing and the fragmentation of the European continent, and that's, I think, very dangerous in global
terms, not just in the local European terms.
AMANPOUR: A lot to think about. David Miliband, thank you so much indeed for joining me.
MILIBAND: Thanks very much indeed.
AMANPOUR: And of course, we'll know a lot more about the fragmented European landscape if it comes to that after the results of these EU
elections are finally released at the end of the weekend. But that is it for now. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast; you can see us
online at amanpour.com, and you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.