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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview With Bill Maher On Donald Trump And 2020 Democratic Field; China's Campaign To Keep The Coronavirus Under Control; Saeb Erekat: I Was Listening To President Trump & Mr. Netanyahu Specifying The Future Of My People & My Family Without Even Bothering To Consult Me; Donald Trump's Middle East Plan: The Palestinian View; Prime Minister Sanna Marin Of Finland: Gender Equality Doesn't Just Happen By Itself. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 9, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald John Trump is hereby acquitted of the charges.
ZAKARIA: Today on the show a big week in American politics. The mess in Iowa.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Chaos in Iowa.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: No results in yet.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Something must be going on.
ZAKARIA: The president's acquittal.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did nothing wrong.
ZAKARIA: His reality show State of the Union and more. I'll talk about it all with that wry observer of everything political and politically incorrect, Bill Maher.
Also last week President Trump announced his Middle East peace plan with no Palestinian participation. This Tuesday Palestinian Authority president Abbas will give his side of the story to the U.N. Security Council. I will get it first from the PA's chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat.
And the crisis over the coronavirus in China. We will show you the extraordinary efforts to contain it.
And finally, the world's youngest prime minister. Sanna Marin was sworn in recently as Finland's prime minister at the age of 34. Her top ministers are majority female, many of them about the same age as Marin. Does that matter? I ask her.
ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. After the debacle of the Iowa caucus, the old quip attributed to Will Rogers seems right. "I'm not a member of any organized political party," he's supposed to have said. "I'm a Democrat." Actually that broad-based Democratic coalition used to be one of the party's strengths. Encompassing southern segregationist, working class union members and northern liberals. Today's collision is much less ideologically diverse, but the central challenge remains. To bring it together and energize voters.
The most worrying news out of Iowa for Democrats is that the voter turnout was far below that of 2008 when Barack Obama brought people out in record numbers. The 2020 turnout looks a lot like 2016, not a year to emulate. Many Democrats have pinned their hopes for energy and enthusiasm on opposition to Donald Trump, to galvanize the party.
Iowa suggests that that negative energy is not going to be enough. Pete Buttigieg has pointed out, "Every time Democrats have succeeded in the last 50 years, it's been with a new generation figure who's not been marinating in Washington for a long time. Every time we've tried to go with the kind of safe establishment, been here for a long time kind of figure, we have come up short."
It's a reasonable conclusion. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Obama all won. Hubert Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, Gore, Kerry and Hillary Clinton lost. Dukakis by the way was an outsider who lost suggesting that it is a necessary but not sufficient condition.
The pattern also speaks to something distinctive about the party. As the saying goes, Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. The Republican Party remains a somewhat disciplined group of people focused on winning. Consider 2016, when almost all the candidates running against Trump believed in Lindsey Graham's words that if Trump were the nominee, he would, quote, "destroy the party," unquote.
But once Trump was nominated, the party got squarely behind him. And today he enjoys a 94 percent approval rating among Republicans.
Democrats, however, do need to fall in love. They need someone to energize them, to come out in droves, and that person has to feel like a transformative figure. Someone who represents a new generation or a new way of thinking.
The problem with Buttigieg's argument is not that he's wrong about the history, but that his own candidacy, while remarkable and refreshing, seems to mostly inspire older, whiter Democrats rather than younger and more diverse ones. The person most attractive to young Democrats remains Bernie Sanders. And the problem with Bernie Sanders is obvious. The country is not nearly as left-wing as he is.
It's easy to get seduced by the idea that he represents a new wave, that young people are more open to his ideas, that we're entering a new world in which far-left ideas once considered unthinkable are now part of mainstream conversation. That same argument was made by Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the last British elections. And the party suffered its worst electoral defeat since 1935.
And it's not just in Britain. Anna Sauerbrey notes, "Across Western European countries, social democratic parties have gone from an average of well over a third of the vote in the mid '90s to about a fifth in recent years."
Those who have succeeded in this environment have tended to be politicians who feel fresh, authentic and who can appeal to the center, France's Macron, Canada's Trudeau, Greece's Mitsotakis. The Democrats need a candidate who can energize the party's voters and bring together its left and centrist wings. And the evidence suggests no one has been able to do that yet.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Let's get right to my interview with Bill Maher. On his TV shows, first "Politically Incorrect" and now "Real Time," Maher's greatest singular ability to analyze American politics with great humor and great intelligence. We sat down on the Los Angeles set of "Real Time" which aired on HBO on Friday nights at 10:00 Eastern and Pacific. HBO and CNN are of course both owned by Warner Media.
Bill Maher, pleasure to have you on.
BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME": Great always to be with you.
ZAKARIA: So what do you think of this week for Donald Trump?
MAHER: I thought it was his best week ever, and the most depressing week for me, as someone who is not a fan of Donald Trump and what he's doing to this country. It was chilling. You know, I knew when he did the State of the Union address and he stuck to the prompters, which I was very surprised, but we have seen that before, Teleprompter Trump, and then Teletubby Trump is coming soon because, you know, I always say this man has a disease. Malignant narcissistic personality disorder.
It's a real thing. He could not help himself from doing that. It was going to come out. Whoever convinced him on Tuesday to stick to the prompter was very good because that's hard for him. He had 100 off- ramps where he could have done what he usually does.
There was no looking at the prompter, and then going so true. Like, you know, he'd never seen it before which is probably he doesn't usually see it, but then Thursday was just horrible with these veiled threats, you know, Comey, we're going to see what happens. People will be in jail, that language.
ZAKARIA: And why do you think he never pays any price for that?
MAHER: Because the worst thing that could possibly have happened, that we all feared and talked about, has happened. He's normalized. Anything you see enough becomes normal. You don't notice it. So he's in a great position. The bad is baked into the cake.
His fans either love it, because it's trolling or it's just him, and lots of other people are like, yes, I know that's him, but, you know, we all know crazy people in our life. And some of them function, some of them are in our family. And you just sort of accept that.
And every time you just this horrible jerk, I think a lot of people go, yes, but that's part and parcel to be this strong leader, and he's getting things done. And if you didn't know the facts and you watched that State of the Union, it was very effective. And the showmanship, you know, that pulled out every stop, with the medals and the Marine being reunited. I mean, that's what he does. And it's going to be hard to beat.
This is a superhero movie of my favorite kind. This is the moment when Superman is on the ground, you know, the kryptonite has weakened him. And I don't know how we get to the end of the movie. I know in a superhero movie it happens because they always win, but this is life. I don't know how we get from here, this week, to that place, November 3rd, where he's defeated and leaves, which of course I don't think he's going to do.
ZAKARIA: And how do you cover somebody who's been normalized like that? Because surely part of the humor, you need people to feel outrage.
MAHER: Yes. Well, I mean, it's not hard to point out the myriad flaws he has and the crazy things he does. And it's still fodder for comedy. I'm not worried about the comedy. There's more comedy in this man than any six presidents. Presidents usually have one thing about them. You know, Bush was dumb, we said, and Clinton was horny, and Chris Christie is overweight. Whatever it is.
This guy is everything. You know, he's horny and he's a racist, and he's a criminal, and he's fat, and he's got crazy hair, and Stormy Daniels. It just never ends with this guy. So I'm not worried about the comedy. I'm worried about the country, and I don't -- you know, the other depressing thing about this week was, you know, at his best moment, the Democrats are -- they just look like a gang who can't shoot straight, who can't run straight.
And if they can't get their act together soon, it's going to be over before it begins. I mean, he won last time with nothing. And now he's got money and, you know, he's been president. And as I say he's normalized to a lot of people.
I saw 44 percent of Democrats saying Democrats are going to win. No, we can't.
ZAKARIA: One of the things that I was struck by, I had Jared Kushner on last week.
MAHER: Yes, I know. ZAKARIA: And he said don't forget 2 percent of the people who
disapproved of Mitt Romney voted for him. 15 percent of the people who disapproved of Donald Trump voted for him in 2016.
ZAKARIA: In other words, I think people are forgetting that there are a lot of people who do think that Trump as a character, he is -- you know, does lots of vulgar things that they wouldn't approve of, but --
MAHER: Yes. That's just --
ZAKARIA: When it's time to vote --
MAHER: That's just him. You know, and he is authentic in that way. You know, he's authentically an A-hole. You know, and people -- in an age that's absent facts and a lot of education, authenticity rules the day. That's why Bernie Sanders also does so well. He's authentic. People know that he -- I think that's why he wound up ahead of Elizabeth Warren. We saw her for a long period of time and she came off looking less authentic than he is.
ZAKARIA: You know, those moments where, if you remember Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, was caught sort of making fun of Trump. And they asked Trump about it the next day. And Trump was completely honest in the sense of saying, yes, I thought he was a two- faced, you know.
ZAKARIA: That to me gets at Trump's authenticity where he's not pretending to be --
ZAKARIA: He doesn't play president. He makes this point in his campaign. I am the real thing. You have seen the real thing.
MAHER: Yes. He never makes a concession to what somebody else wants him to be. And I keep saying here that in an age where everything is completely binary, you're either red team or blue ahead, everything that a blue players does goes in the blue bin. And then everybody on the blue team has to answer for that. So Trump doesn't have to be popular. Listen to what he always says. You have no choice.
You have to vote for me, because he's saying, yes, you may not like me, I may be crude and vulgar and horrible, but they're crazy. And there's a lot of stuff in that blue bin that is crazy.
And people read it every week, just these things, these too far out, left wokey stuff, and you know, Obama said it, just people are just looking for -- don't do crazy stuff. Don't say crazy stuff. Because we all get tagged with it. And then they go, yes, I don't like Trump, but he's right, I've got to vote for him. They're nuts.
ZAKARIA: All right. We're going to come back with Bill Maher. When we come back, I'm going to ask him about the other side of the aisle, the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHER: I love Pete. I love Mayor Pete. I do. If I had my druthers I think I'd pick him because I think -- I wouldn't have said that at first because I just was going by the stats. I don't know his name. He's from a little town and he's 37. Are you kidding?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: More now of my interview with the comedian and satirist Bill Maher from his set in Television City in Hollywood.
Now we're going to talk about the other side. If this was a good week for Trump, pretty bad week for the Democrats with Iowa?
MAHER: Yes, but they're starting to get a little clarity in the field. I mean, I have always said if Biden is the one, that's going to defeat Trump, I'm all in for Joe, but the more I see him, he doesn't look like quite the same Joe. And I worry. And I also have been saying that go into a general election, and trust me, the Republicans will make Joe Biden's Ukraine issue, which is minuscule compared to Trump's Ukraine corruption.
They will make that the bigger issue. They did it in 2004 with John Kerry and George Bush, Somehow John Kerry was the one who's suspect in war and George Bush, the draft dodger, was the war hero? But remember swift boat, people for Bush, and all -- OK, so I think that's an albatross around Biden's neck, and he also just doesn't perform well. He just doesn't -- I guess some people it doesn't bother, but it's starting to bother me.
I noticed at the debates, everybody else is trying to talk over the moderator to get more time. This guy can't wait for the question to be over. I see the light; I'm not going to --
MAHER: That's not a good sign.
ZAKARIA: But what about the others then? Buttigieg?
MAHER: I love Pete. I love Mayor Pete. I do. If I had my druthers, I think I'd pick him because I think -- I wouldn't have said that at first because I just was going by the stats. I don't know his name. He's from a little town and he's 37. Are you kidding? But you know what? I always say case by case basis with age. And he's just wise beyond his years. And he's -- you know, obvious got the energy at that age.
But he's just -- he's not too far left. I mean, obviously he has some issues that, you know, people keep endlessly talking about. He's not catching on with the black voters, but it's still early. The way some of these articles write about him, he's not in the Klan, you know? I don't think this is really a problem with this enlightened millennial gay guy. Give him a chance.
ZAKARIA: Who is to the left of Obama on all his policy issues.
MAHER: Yes. Yes. There's not a non-progressive on the Democratic side. They talk about anyone who's Warren or Bernie like they're not progressive. They're all progressives. They're not just -- those two are just way far left.
ZAKARIA: But now do you feel like you've adjusted? Because you used to always think of yourself as resolutely left-wing. Right? I mean --
MAHER: No. I was never a Democrat because I would always say, you know, I caucus with them, but they'll do and something I can't -- I don't want to defend that. But then when Trump came along, I said, yes, there's only two sides now and I can't fool around. I'm with the Democrats certainly until we get rid of him. But I've almost always voted with the Democrats, I didn't think they were great, but the Republicans just got worse and worse and worse. But left wing? Yes, I guess. I don't even know what -- I don't think people know what labels mean anymore. They're all over the now.
ZAKARIA: But you were critical of Bernie and Warren on some of them more?
ZAKARIA: Particularly on immigration, particularly on --
MAHER: Yes, I think it's bad politics. And also I'm not for that much socialism. I always say socialism capitalism plus. What we have and people forget, we already have a lot of socialism in this country, and I'm for most of it, you know., Medicare and Social Security and stuff like that. But a wealth tax? Can I say a word for the wealthy, please? Because I've been very poor.
I woke up with roaches crawling across my face for a couple of years. So I don't feel bad about having money. And I can't remember the last year when I didn't pay over 50 percent to the government. I mean, California has an insanely high state tax. So you add 39 plus 13 -- you already over -- so I've already giving you over half. And what I've managed to save after you took over half, now you're going to come after that with a wealth tax?
I think there are more better ways to get the money. We do have a horrible income inequality system, but you know, yes, you can even threaten a good liberal like me.
ZAKARIA: And do you worry that the Democrats are not hearing this? Because there is, you know, between Twitter and the primaries, all the energy is on the left, but I worry that the place where you're going to win the election is in the center. MAHER: That's what I have been saying. But you know, I must admit.
I've been all over the map myself. Because like any Democratic voter, I'm looking at the field and making judgments as it goes along and I'm thinking out loud and my mantra so far has been, yes, and I think it's still correct, that there's so much room in the center that Trump eventually will, I think, excite our base enough that if you just don't scare away too many people, like they did with Brett Kavanaugh, and maybe with impeachment.
Impeachment, if you look at the poll numbers for Trump, didn't to hurt.
MAHER: You know, I love Nancy Pelosi, but she always says he's wearing it for life. I don't think he cares about that. I think he's going to make it cool, you know. I was impeached, I'm a bad man. You know? And -- so I just think if you offer an alternative, a place for people to go, I like Amy Klobuchar a lot. You know people think she's not the exciting candidate, but, you know, she's got woke cred in her genes because she's a woman. Democrats like that.
My Pete has woke cred just by being gay, but then the policies are centrist. I think that's a good combination. Because you have to unite those two parts of the Democratic Party.
ZAKARIA: And do you think there's enough energy against Trump that it will be easier to unite these two parts of a party?
MAHER: I think -- I mean, I can't -- he's doing better than he has, but again this was a very good week for him. I don't know if it'll stay there. And you can always count on him to do horrible things in the future. But, you know, as I always say to my friends who start going on and on about Trump, please, your life is no different. In fact, you're probably richer, so shut up until something actually happens.
Now I do think something is going to happen. I think this is the last year of normalcy, and then Katie bar the door. But right now, no, people are not suffering. Life is pretty much the same.
He hasn't gotten us into a war, and by some miracle he hasn't tanked the economy, but you know, con men, they're good. Con men are good at coning. And people have this belief that America is on the rise, you know. You hear him talk and a lot of people fall for that, and yes, things are going to be better.
And so a lot of it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The stock market is always just very psychological, isn't it? I mean, they're nervous when something -- and he doesn't have anything but confidence, so maybe he'll blow through the whole first term without any economic problems, and then you're very hard to beat. Because people vote their pocketbook.
ZAKARIA: On that note, Bill Maher --
MAHER: Not a good week. But we'll see.
ZAKARIA: Pleasure to have you on.
MAHER: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, just how bad is China's coronavirus crisis and how successful have Beijing's efforts been to isolate and treat the disease.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. Tens of thousands infected, hundreds dead, more than two dozen countries affected and counting. That is the damage inflicted so far by the deadly coronavirus that propped up in China in December and shows no signs of dying down. The WHO has called it a global health emergency. Many international airlines have stopped flying to China and governments have chartered flights to evacuate their citizens from that country.
But the most fascinating part of this story is the Chinese government marshaling it's prodigious state machinery to enact it's believed to the largest quarantine in human city in centers around the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province where the virus first appeared and where the outbreak is centered.
There most businesses and schools are now closed highways nearly deserted, public transportation has shut down. Routes to the outside world are all but cut off. Wuhan has about 11 million residents, but you would never guess that looking at the streets today.
A mysterious disease began to come into public view in late December when a doctor messaged his friends that there was an infection in his hospital. The infection was believed to be tied to a seafood market. Wuhan authorities promptly shut down the market, but also called the doctor into the police station and reprimanded him for disrupting the social order.
The central government didn't take control until January 20th when it ordered the quarantine. In the days that followed gymnasiums and exhibition centers were turned into makeshift hospitals. Workers and police were deployed to take people's temperatures as they entered public places and open shops.
Workers sprayed down streets and hotels even people with disinfectants. The scale of China's lockdown is impressive, but it was also delayed which accounts in part for the widespread of the disease the crowding of the hospitals and the numbers of the deaths in Hubei as the Chinese news outlet reported.
Between January 23rd and February 4th, the official death toll in Hubei Province grew by a factor of 20, and included in the death toll now is that doctor who first blew the whistle on the disease. Faced with the hospital crowding, the government devised an only in China solution.
It set out to build two new hospitals in Wuhan in under two weeks, deploying thousands of construction workers using prefabricated units. According to state media both opened this week and each were staffed with more than a thousand military medical workers.
The precautionary methods have spread beyond Wuhan almost 60 million people around the country are under lockdown. Many shops have shuttered in Beijing and Shanghai. Macao closed its casinos. The government had sent drowns around the country to tell people to wear masks.
The response has become a matter the patriotism. This week an editorial in "The People's Daily" called for a people's war against the virus, entreating citizens to rally around the communist party central committee and Xi Jinping.
Now this is an impressive response and could probably only happen in China but that doesn't mean it is always the smartest strategy. Some of the most stringent restrictions stigmatize the ill and restrict personal liberties.
According to Shi Chin (ph) early last month Wuhan police "Punished" eight people most of them doctors for rumor mongering because they're actually just spreading news of the outbreak. Still these are uncharted waters. We should all watch closely what is going on in China and learn from it. The world is more connected than ever before, and so we are likely to see more of these kinds of crises in the future.
Next on "GPS" the Trump Administration's Middle East peace plan was hatched without any consultation with Palestinian officials. I will talk with the Chief Palestinian Negotiator about what he thinks of the plan.
ZAKARIA: Late last month the Trump Administration released the long awaited peace plan for the Middle East. Running 180 pages long the peace to prosperity plan was subtitled a vision to improve the lives of the Palestinian and Israeli people.
Last week I brought you the plan's mastermind and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. This week I'm joined from the West Bank by the Saeb Erekat the Chief Negotiator for the Palestinians. Let me ask you Saeb, what was your reaction to hearing about this plan? Were you consulted in any way? How did it come about, from your point of view?
SAEB EREKAT, CHIEF NEGOTIOATOR FOR THE PALESTINIANS: To be honest with you and my President watched it CNN, like you did, like the Nigerians, like the Argentineans', like the Alaskan's like all people we saw President Trump and Mr. Netanyahu standing up, congratulating each other praising each other.
Now saying this is perfect, this is critical and I thought that a deal comprised an agreement between two sides, so here I am listening Mr. President Trump and Mr. Netanyahu specifying my future, the future of the Palestinians and my children and grandchildren without even bothering to consult me.
As a matter of fact, I found out that Mr. Kushner took my job and made himself the Chief Negotiator of Palestinians' and then copied and pasted every single demand of Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues, and then wrapped the agreement, and he sent actually talking points to nations all over, asking them to say we appreciate the efforts exhibited by President Trump.
And in the talking points to all nations, he used some of them with you, when he spoke the first time Palestinians - the first time Palestinians for a chance for prosperity, a chance to be independent, a chance, which is all distortions and lies.
ZAKARIA: But let me ask you this, fundamentally it does seem that the plan is premised on Palestinian weakness. The argument goes, I think, look, the Palestinians are now Lilliputians in compared to the Israeli economy is what 500 billion, Palestinian GDP is 12 billion.
ZAKARIA: The Arabs are more eager to normalize relations with Israel than ever before, particularly Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and in these circumstances, this is the best deal you will get?
EREKAT: That's what I call dictation, when you combine arrogance and ignorance, you have political blindness. Political blindness is what is happening today and yesterday in the West Bank, where Israelis and Palestinians are being killed and wounded.
The point is, I'm sitting in Jericho two kilometers from the Jordan River, from my hometown Jericho, on the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, I the Christian and Muslim Palestinian I'm 50.9 percent of the population. Freedman and Netanyahu are 49.1 percent population.
What are they going to do with me? Judaism to me Fareed, was never a threat, is not a threat, will never be a threat. Judaism is one of the God's great religions like Christianity and Islam. These people are so determined that this conflict is a religious one. This conflict, I tell them, no, it's not a religious one it's a political one; it is a national one it is a territorial one.
Told you that he has the Arabs with him, he has the Europeans with him, and he has the Islamic countries with him. I was personally with my President in Egypt a week ago, and 22 Arab countries were present there Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt. Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria, and Morocco all unanimously rejected the Trump deal and said we will not deal in any way with this sham.
ZAKARIA: But they say all of this, but none of them do anything, none of these so-called allies of you're the Arab world are willing to put any pressure. At the end of the day you need the Israelis to make the Palestinian state, so is your only option to go for a one-state solution?
EREKAT: My option is two states. I may be in the minority, I'm being criticized heavily by sticking to the two-state solution, but I know in the history that if we want to have a solution, we must have a negotiated solution between us and the Israelis. If we don't help ourselves as Israelis and Palestinians that means this will be translated in the blood of my children and their children.
And nobody else will do it for us. So my President will be on the 11th of February, Tuesday, in the Security Council extending his hand to the international community, to convene an international body, an international conference. We have a path.
My President will present a vision for our international conference to launch negotiations where we live them, on the basis of the two-state solution 67 ending the occupation, our peace initiative to avoid violence. We can do it, and we will do it. We have no other alternative but to live and let live.
I want my grandchildren to live like your grandchildren. I want them to be the teachers, the musicians, the newsmakers, the soccer players, whatever, and my job is to save lives. As a matter of fact, to safe lives of Israelis and Palestinians and the only way to do it is through direct negotiations, through two states, the state of Palestine, side by side for the security of Israel.
This will happen. Mark my words. We have no alternative, but the difference between those people trying to take us off track by the so- called vision of peace, vision of annexation and diction will be how many Israelis and Palestinians will be killed. Should we go back to the negotiation table and achieve our end game of the two-state solution, which is the only solution.
ZAKARIA: Saeb Erekat, pleasure to have on sir.
EREKAT: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS" the world's youngest Prime Minister Finland's Sanna Marin her thoughts on women running the world when we come back.
ZAKARIA: In 1907 Finland made history. The election that year was the first time women not only voted but won seats in parliament. Finland has since continued to break a lot of ground on gender equality, and in 2019, an extraordinary shake-up took place there.
The government is now a coalition of five parties, all run by women. Four of the five women are 35 or younger. The Prime Minister is Sanna Marin. At 34, the world's youngest Prime Minister. She splashed onto the world stage. And I had the great fortune to talk to her on a panel about gender equality last month in Davos. Prime Minister when you became the youngest head of government in the world. What was more important? That you were the youngest head of government in the world or that you were female and that you had such a young cabinet, which was dominated by women?
SANNA MARIN, PRIME MINISTER, FINLAND: Well, thank you very much for having me here. It's a pleasure. It's very interesting and very important topic that we are discuss today. Actually I didn't focus on the media attention so much.
MARIN: Of course, it looks different than we are used to, but I hope that in the future it doesn't get as much attention, because it should be also seen as normal that we have different generations, different genders in power to making decisions, because if we look at the population, there are different genders, there are different generations. We need people from all backgrounds.
ZAKARIA: But you said it looks different, but is it different to have, you know, a majority of your cabinet as women, so many young, is it in fact do you think there's something different about the nature of the conversations? You've probably been in rooms and committees which were dominated by men. Do you think there's a different quality to the kind of conversation you have now in your cabinet?
MARIN: Well, we started our work last summer when we formed the government and we changed the Prime Ministers last December. Of course, we do have the same program. We do have the same visions, and we do have the same agenda that we used to have, but of course it's a different environment than we are used to, but I'm not the first female Prime Minister in Finland. I'm the third.
And we also have a female President when I was a young girl and growing up, so maybe it's not that big a deal in Finland that we have women in power and that we have female Prime Minister. But, of course, it shows something that the media and the global community is talking about it.
So maybe today it's something else, but hopefully in the future it's the new normal that we have people from all kinds of backgrounds making the decisions in powerful places.
ZAKARIA: What I'm trying to get at is there are many women who will say that a conversation that has more women is less, for example, conflictual, that women are tend to be more willing to find a compromise or a solution that is more cooperative.
Do you believe that's true? Or do you think that's in its own way kind of gender stereotyping, and that actually, you know, men and women are essential, that these dynamics are the same no matter whether there are 8 women and 2 men or 8 men and 2 women?
MARIN: Well, I think if we have people from different backgrounds, different genders making the decisions, the decisions are better because different angles are being pointed out and being used, so I think it's very important that you have different angles and different backgrounds in the discussion and also in the decision-making process.
I think it's better for everybody. It's not only better for women that we have women in charge. It's also better for the men. Actually or gender equality minister is a man in our government. So I think it's very good that we have different perspectives. We need everybody on board it's benefiting everybody so we need everybody on board.
ZAKARIA: Prime Minister, I want some advice from you. I think the U.S., in terms of percentage of women in its legislature, I think it ranks 75th in the world. How do we get it up?
MARIN: Well, I think you need to make many decisions. We have had for a long time in our law that, for example, in the municipalities, in cities you have to have at least 40 percent of either men or women in the body, so you need laws - I'm not sure about U.S. legislation--
ZAKARIA: We don't have such laws.
MARIN: --something like this, but you need laws and you need structures that leads the way to gender equality. It just doesn't happen by itself. It just doesn't happen by itself. You need to work on it coincidentally. It's not somebody else's job. This is why I got into politics. I realized that things just don't happen by itself.
I have to work. I have to do it myself or my friends and then people around me had to do it themselves, and we need everybody in laws and making - taking the steps forward that we will eventually have gender equality.
We have lots to things to do also in Finland, but I'm not sure why it is so that the United States representation is so low when it comes to women. I just don't know. It's a developed country, so you have to ask the U.S. citizens why they are picking men over women.
ZAKARIA: My thanks to the Prime Minister for that conversation. Before we go, my book of week is the Soner Cagaptay's Erdogan's Empire." This is the best book on Turkey today well written with good short sections on the country's past that then shed light on its present.
Whatever everyone thinks of President Erdogan, he's the most important Leader of Turkey since Kemal Ataturk, and his brand of conservative populist nationalism is trending worldwide. The phenomenon needs greater understanding, which makes this book especially worthwhile. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.