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Interview With Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL); Interview With BP CEO Bernard Looney; Interview with "Imperfect Messenger" Comedian Roy Wood Jr. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 08, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
BERNARD LOONEY, CEO, BP: I don't think anyone can doubt our commitment to transition our company.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): A rare and exclusive interview with the head of BP. I ask CEO Bernard Looney about his promise that the fossil fuel giant can
be part of the solution to climate change.
REP. MARIA ELVIRA SALAZAR (R-FL): This is his most flagrant example of a stolen election as we have ever seen, and the world needs to know that.
Spotlight on Nicaragua. U.S. Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar joins me to up the pressure on power-hungry President Daniel Ortega.
ROY WOOD JR., COMEDIAN: This is how the police talk to each other. It's just gibberish. Three Victor. Two David. Two David. Three Victor.
AMANPOUR: The imperfect messenger. Comedian Roy Wood Jr. talks to Hari Sreenivasan about police reform and bringing light to society's most
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Winter is coming to the Northern Hemisphere. And with soaring energy prices and fears of inflation, homeowners are bracing for what might be ahead: big
As the global economy revs back up, its reliance on fossil fuels has become crystal clear, this as negotiators continue to try to hammer out climate
pledges at the COP 26 summit in Glasgow.
The former U.S. President Barack Obama flew over to Scotland. And he told the audience that time is really running out now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here in Glasgow, we see the promise of further progress. What is also true is that,
collectively and individually, we are still falling short.
We have not done nearly enough to address this crisis. We are going to have to do more. And whether that happens or not to a large degree is going to
depend on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And while some meaningful pledges have been made at COP this year, there's still no consensus on how to achieve the summit's number one
goal, which is limiting the planet's warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
My first guest tonight is at the center of all of this. He is Bernard Looney, the CEO of BP, which has pledged to become a net zero company by
2050 or sooner. I asked him how.
AMANPOUR: Bernard Looney, welcome to the program.
LOONEY: Thanks for having me on.
AMANPOUR: So how bad did you feel about not being or being disinvited from COP 26? You and the other oil giant leaders were just not invited?
LOONEY: Well, look, I think -- Christiane, as you well know, I think there's a lot of people in society who would see a company like ours being
part of the problem, rather than being a part of the solution.
And I understand that feeling. And, therefore, at the end of the day, I think it would have been, in many ways, a distraction for me to be there.
Some of my team was there. I participated virtually. But I do think it speaks to this whole piece about having a seat at the table and whether,
indeed, companies like BP, who have a net zero ambition, who have near-term targets, who are willing to be transparent and are transparent, who are
willing to be held to account, actually need to be at the table, I believe, to help the world make this transition.
AMANPOUR: Give me -- just run through quickly and briefly, so I give you a chance to put your transition policies to me and to our viewers.
LOONEY: Well, in February of last year, we laid out a new purpose for BP. We laid out a new strategy six months later.
And our strategy is to go from what we have been doing for 112 years, which is being an international oil company, to move from that to being an
integrated energy company. And an integrated energy company is a company whose purpose is to give society what it wants and needs. And what it wants
and needs is clean, reliable and affordable energy.
And that's our strategy. Ever since that, we have been working hard on enacting that strategy. This is not a light switch. We don't turn a 112-
year-old company on its head overnight, but we have carried out the biggest restructuring in our history. We have entered offshore wind in the largest
and fastest growing markets in the world, in the U.S. and U.K.
We're involved in hydrogen. We're doubling on electrification. We're doing all of the things that a company of ours needs to do to be part of the
solution, and, in doing so, create enormous value for our shareholders.
AMANPOUR: How long ago did you say you put this out?
LOONEY: February 2020.
AMANPOUR: OK, so that's not very long ago, right?
AMANPOUR: And we have been living in an existential crisis for a lot longer than that.
AMANPOUR: Do you understand -- do you feel people's pain, to quote former President Clinton? Do you get the anxiety of our young people who don't
even see a future for them?
They're really anxious right now.
LOONEY: So I think the first thing is to say is that I do get it. And I get it because I spent the first four or five months before I took up the
role going around, listening, talking to NGOs, talking to shareholders, listening to different forms of society, listening to an activist, an
activist who was particularly influential in my thinking.
She was fantastic.
AMANPOUR: What did she change?
LOONEY: Well, I think she helped me realize things like -- she came to our annual general meeting, and she said: I look around and it looks like I'm
at a renewables company. You're an oil and gas company.
And the reality is, Christiane, that the world needs companies like ours to transition. You simply cannot build and scale enough new green companies
fast enough; 70 percent of the world's emissions come from companies and sectors like ours. Unless we transition, the world's not going to
AMANPOUR: So, basically, you saying the idea of getting rid of oil and gas anytime soon is pie in the sky.
LOONEY: Every single scenario that I have seen, including the IEA's net zero scenario for 2050, has oil and gas still in the system, in that
scenario, 20 million barrels a day in 2050.
AMANPOUR: Compared to?
LOONEY: Compared to about 100 million today.
So our strategy is to lean in that direction. We are the only company that I'm aware of who has an objective. Having spent 112 years trying to grow
production, we're going to take our production down by 40 percent this decade. Show me any company that is doing that. We're going to bring our
We have got 23 gigawatts. A year ago, we had 10. We had nothing in offshore wind a year ago. Today, we have 3.7 gigawatts. We have increased the number
of charge points in electrification by 35 percent in the space here. We are all in. And it's not just because society wants us to do this and needs us
to do this. It's because our employees want us to do it. They're part of this equation too, and, indeed, our shareholders, because trillions of
dollars are going to get spent rewiring and re-plumbing the Earth's energy system.
And we believe, because of what we have been doing, we're one of the few companies that can actually help solve this complex problem and give
shareholders a real return on their investment, at the same time as doing good for the world.
AMANPOUR: Some of the activists and experts on this say that they expected companies like yours to be the industry leaders on renewables, right, that,
had it been 15 years ago, even 10 years ago, and I think even BP 20 years ago drew back from it because of financial pressure.
Do you think that was a mistake? I have heard other -- like the head of Shell and others saying that that was a mistake. Like, wind -- they dumped
wind 15 years ago, and now they're getting back into it. But things could have really been different.
LOONEY: Well, look, we can look back or we can look at where we are today.
AMANPOUR: No, but I want to know, isn't that a real pressure, that you can do things or say things, but then, under huge -- whether it's lobbyists,
whether its shareholders, whether it's financial, step back?
LOONEY: You can't defy gravity. Society wants and needs cleaner, reliable and affordable energy.
BP is one of the few companies, I believe, that can knit together what is a very complex system now. It used to be coal. Then it was oil. Now it's very
different, Christiane. It's solar, wind. It's natural gas, it's nuclear, it's hydro. Somebody has to put those things together, because a customer
doesn't want to have to deal with these different forms of energy.
And I am convinced that, as we execute on our strategy, step by step, day by day, I understand why people feel like they do. I understand that. I
always say to our people, put ourselves in their shoes. Hold up a mirror. Look at ourselves first.
So I get it. And, therefore, I'm not going to try and convince anybody by my words. You're going to have to judge by our actions, quarter on quarter,
day on day.
And some of the things that I have just talked about that we're doing, I think it's very hard to refute that we're not all in on making this
transition happen in a way that's good for society and in a way that's good for our shareholders.
AMANPOUR: So that's nice to hear.
As you know, the American head of BP America and the other giants were in Congress about a week to 10 days ago, called by Ro Khanna and the committee
there, to try to figure out why you all have spent so long, decades, lobbying and spending hundreds of millions, if not billions, over the years
to deny the climate science, to lobby government, to keep getting the subsidies, and to basically push back against the very things that you're
saying right now.
When people accuse you of greenwashing, they say then why do you support and fund the industry lobbyists, the API, for instance, American Petroleum
Institute? And at the congressional hearing, not one of the leaders would disassociate themselves from this lobbying group, not one of them.
How are people, ordinary people, meant to get beyond what you're saying and try to figure out whether you're serious if you keep funding these very
powerful lobbying groups?
LOONEY: So, I would say a couple of things to that.
And the first thing I would say is -- around greenwashing. And you know this individual well. John Browne, in 1997, at Stanford.
AMANPOUR: The former chair -- the former head of...
LOONEY: Former chief executive of BP...
LOONEY: ... was the first industry executive that I know of to publicly acknowledge at a speech in Stanford in 1997 that there is indeed a link
between human activity and global warming.
So I think BP's track record in the matter of acknowledging the signs is very, very clear, and, in fact, invested billions and billions of dollars
in the period of 2000 to 2010, which, in many ways, was ahead of its time and had to be written off because it was simply too early.
So I look back at that and I say, I think it's hard to say that we as a company have somehow been not behind the science. We were the first, I
would argue, in 1997 to acknowledge it, and do so publicly.
AMANPOUR: But you do acknowledge that lobbying groups and other giants have been questioning science?
LOONEY: So I'm not here to speak for other companies.
AMANPOUR: I understand, but it's an industry problem.
LOONEY: But in terms of the specific organization that you talk about, so since I took over last year, we have been issuing a report that we will
issue, I think, every two years that looks at all of our trade associations.
And like everything in life, the API being one of them, there are some where we're fully aligned in terms of policies, and there are some where we
are partially aligned, and there are some where we are not aligned at all.
Where we are not aligned at all, Christiane, we have left. And we have left, I think, three organizations in the last couple of years. And I think
it's clear in that report that we are partially aligned with the API. Some of the things that they do is not about lobbying. They actually develop
safety standards for the entire industry.
I think it's important that we would be partaking in that. I think that's important. And in terms of lobbying, where we disagree with them, we're
public when we disagree.
AMANPOUR: So, on electric vehicles and all that, you have just announced a partnership last month with BMW-Daimler on charging stations in Europe.
You said: "We intend to double down on and grow, particularly here in Europe, particularly in China, and looking at the United States."
And yet, in February, API, who you're just describing, released a report called "Reasons to Rethink a Rushed E.V. Transition." And its president and
CEO said: "Electric vehicle technologies may appear to offer clear-cut solutions to modern challenges, but government action to limit America's
transportation choice would leave everyday drivers high and dry."
So you help fund this organization. How does it square with what you started our interview by saying, that you're investing in electric and all
these other important things?
LOONEY: We absolutely believe in electrification. We're big investors in it. We back it.
I think, in my own view, the electrification of transport for you and I, that battle has been won. It's been won by electrification. And we're
investing in it in the countries that you say so.
I also told you that it's not everywhere that we agree with the API on. And clearly, on electrification, we are pro-electrification. Here in the U.K.,
we're pro -- we lobbied for the ban on internal combustion engine by 2030. So there are areas of difference. And that's why, in our report, we're very
clear that we are partially aligned.
But we believe, Christiane, just like I would argue to an investor IN BP, better be inside and influencing than outside. That's the same argument
that I would make would an investor. An investor has a choice. You can divest from BP. It's a one-time action. You're done.
If you stay involved, you can challenge, you can influence, you can engage, and you can help the world transition, because the world needs companies
like ours to transition.
AMANPOUR: But do you think the API is helping the world transition?
You're talking about investors in your company. I understand what you're saying. But these are people who you're paying to lobby, I mean, even
against methane caps.
LOONEY: So, we have been -- again, we have been very clear.
So I think what I have said is the following. Number one, the API does much more than lobbying. It's a massive safety standards organization. That is a
key reason why we are a member.
AMANPOUR: OK, so would you tell them then to...
AMANPOUR: ... to stop this kind of lobbying, and confusing people and lying about science?
LOONEY: Today, the API has a climate plan. BP and other companies that are like-minded have been a part of helping the API get to a place where it has
a carbon plan, a climate plan.
And you mentioned methane. On the matter of methane, we have been very public. We have been very public over the last 18 months, if you look at
any of our releases in the United States, that we are pro the regulation of methane, we are pro it being at a federal level. And that is, by
definition, not always aligned with a position that the API might take.
We're not trying to hide anything here. We're saying that we are partially aligned. There are some areas we're fully aligned. There are some areas
that we are not.
AMANPOUR: How many years or decades do you see for oil and gas ahead?
LOONEY: Well, don't look at what I say.
Look at the IEA. The IEA in the most ambitious...
AMANPOUR: That's the International Energy Agency.
LOONEY: Energy Agency. Fatih Biro, very learned, very huge organization.
Even in their net zero scenario, which does achieve 1.5 degrees, there's still 20 million barrels of oil a day in the system in 2050. That's down
from 100 today. And in the other scenarios, the numbers are much bigger than that.
The question for the world is, what is our objective? What is our objective? Is it positions against oil or against natural gas? Or what are
we actually trying to achieve? What we're trying to achieve, I think we'd all agree, we want to get emissions down.
And we need to employ every single technology possible to make our energy cleaner. That doesn't mean that it's necessarily going to be 100 percent
clean overnight. But, today, if we could have natural gas being burned, instead of coal, that would be a positive thing.
And yet some people are quite, well, no, that's unacceptable. Well, I think Mark Carney says, let's start every meeting with saying, what's our
objective? Our objective is to drive emissions down. So let's get coal onto natural gas.
Then you mentioned CCS. Then, over time, let's capture the carbon from the natural gas and store it. All of these technologies are going to be part of
the solution. There is no one single bullet here. If it were, it would have been done already.
AMANPOUR: I think people will want to hear your honest opinion on my final question. You clearly saying that you want to be on the right side of
And you're also saying it's hard. Do you then wish that your predecessors in this industry, when the science was clear, and when the alarm bells were
being rung very loudly a decade ago, two decades ago, had started as urgently as your -- as you're speaking right now?
LOONEY: Well, I think BP is a very good case study in this regard.
John Browne, our former CEO, was the first industry executive in 1997 to publicly acknowledged this. We then put in place a series of plans to
reduce our emissions. He established an environmental trading scheme within the company. We invested $10 billion in renewables. The reality is, we were
too early. The policies weren't there. The world wasn't ready.
And we ended up writing off $8 billion, $9 billion of those investments. So, absolutely, we have done a lot. Importantly, we have learned a lot. And
what I can tell you is what I'm responsible for and accountable for today is what we're doing now.
And we are all in. And I think all of the things that we are doing and all of the things we did in the last 18 months, it's very, very difficult. I
think, objectively, to say that we are not all in on trying to make this work.
I said it's hard. My job is not to tell anyone that this is hard. My job is to say, it's hard, and we're going to help figure it out, because that's
what our role is and that's what our employees want. And I think that's what society ultimately expects of us.
AMANPOUR: We will be back with you in a year from now.
LOONEY: I hope so.
LOONEY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Bernard Looney, thank you very much for joining us.
LOONEY: Thanks for having me on. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So now let's go to the COP 26 summit in Glasgow.
A new report from the environmental group Global Witness found the fossil fuel industry has more lobbyists there than any national delegation.
Phil Black has been covering the event since it started last week. And he's joining me now.
So, Phil Black, you heard what Bernard Looney promised and what he was telling me from headquarters in London. This seems, though, to be a
generational disconnect, because there, where you are and where I was last week, you can see young people just at their wit's end, just emotionally
and factually just unable to process what they feel is a too-slow transition.
What are you feeling and hearing now into the second week at COP on this issue?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christiane, I think there are some people here who are aware that the former BP CEO John Browne acknowledged
the science back in the '90s. But that was a long time ago.
And as you pointed out through that interview, not a lot has changed, or not certainly not enough has changed. Overwhelmingly, there is a perception
here that fossil fuel industries have some pretty powerful motivations for not moving too quickly on the transition.
Barack Obama spoke about this today when he addressed some delegates here when he talked about a lot of the opposition to climate policies coming
from fossil fuel industries, because, in his words, they are out to make a buck.
And you touched on the fact that someone looked at the accreditation list, did some counting, and worked out that there are more people here connected
to fossil fuel companies than to any single country delegation, around 500 people.
So taking all of this together, I think it's absolutely fair to say there remains a perception that these companies, just like the small island
countries, are in something of an existential battle. They're just often better resourced -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So we talked -- you just talked about President Obama. And the theme today, let me read it, is adaptation, loss and damage.
And he said again what many leaders have said and what many have said in their interviews with us, that it really is up to the wealthy nations to
help the less developed nations, the wealthy nations, which are the biggest emitters to the less developed nations, which barely emit anything.
Does there -- is there a feeling that there is a substantial and adequate pledge of money and resources from the wealthy to the less developed, who
really need it to transition?
BLACK: This is a really fraught issue, Christiane, and it's quite complex, and it talks about money for a bunch of different intentions.
Fundamentally, yes, built into this process is the moral understanding that rich countries have a responsibility to help poor countries, who didn't
create the problem and who often stand the most to lose from it because they are vulnerable, and they can't spend their way through it.
We know it's had -- it's had a lot of discussion, the fact that rich countries pledged more than 10 years ago to mobilize $100 billion a year to
help poor countries. That was supposed to happen by 2020. They have missed that. It's probably not going to happen here again. We're still talking
about that being delivered to the right amount.
It may be 2022. May be 2023. That does erode trust among those poorer, those developing countries. And we now have on top of that some of the most
vulnerable countries calling for loss and damage payments, essentially reparations for the impacts of climate change they believe they are already
experiencing and will be experiencing in the near term.
There has been an acknowledgement of that feeling and that desire, and it is a very sensitive issue. But it would seem at the moment rich countries
aren't prepared to make a lot of progress on that point. But it's going to be really sensitive and delicate in these final days, because, in this
consensus-style negotiation, it cannot be ignored, it can't be shut down.
There is going to be -- have to be a formal acknowledgement of that issue come the end of the talks, pointing to an ongoing process for continuing
that discussion. But it's crucial because it all ties in to trust and solidarity.
And if you don't get that right, then there is absolutely an understanding here that the system falls over.
AMANPOUR: Well, we saw some incredible pictures and some incredible scene of the foreign minister of the island state of Tuvalu standing knee-deep in
water to try to make this point that you have just been talking about.
And it appears that Scotland is the only -- I know it's the host country, but it's not exactly a massive country with a massive economy. It's the
only country that has agreed to pay compensation for the kind of damage that we have just been talking about.
And just finally, related to this, obviously, the main goal is to try to keep the idea of 1.5 degrees warming our own -- that that should be the
limit, keep that idea alive.
Is that idea alive? What is the talk about that sort of iconic number right now?
BLACK: I think you could say it's in trouble. We know that it is not going to be secured at this conference.
The emissions targets that have been put on the table are just simply nowhere close enough to being adequate to ensuring that goal stays within
reach. There will be a real push in these final days to try and close the gaps. And there might be some progress. But it will not be enough. And we
will not see some of the big-polluting countries which are reluctant to make big cuts this decade.
We're talking about Australia, Brazil, China, Russia. These countries are unlikely to move significantly in the next few days, certainly not enough
to secure the goal. So, therefore, the next point becomes, well, how do we revisit this again?
Because under the Paris agreement, it is supposed to be reviewed every five years. There is absolutely a belief here that we can't wait another five
years, we don't have enough time. So there will also be a push in these final days to try and establish a review at more regular intervals or at
shorter intervals, perhaps two years, perhaps even a year, and in the hope that that sort of urgency will ramp up the ambition and the pressure more
But, really, securing that process in many ways will determine the success or failure of this conference and whether or not that crucial 1.5 figure
does indeed stay alive and could perhaps be achievable within the coming years -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Phil, thank you. That is really good insight from COP 26 in Glasgow. Thanks so much for joining us.
And now we're going to turn to Central America and an election that is being called a total fraud and a sham. After jailing his rivals and dozens
of critics, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega and his vice president, who is his wife, look set to be reelected for a fourth term, with more than 70
percent of Sunday's vote.
Just days before the election, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the RENACER Act, calling for tougher sanctions on the regime.
The Florida Republican Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar was one of the sponsors of that legislation. And she is joining me now from Tampa,
Congresswoman, welcome to the program. And we are going to get to Nicaragua.
But because of our talk and our important focus on climate, I want to ask you about the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was just passed by the
House of -- by Congress, Biden's bill. It's obviously watered down, but you did not vote for it. Why not?
SALAZAR: Well, thank you for the opportunity.
And before I answer your question, I just wanted to thank you very, thank - - you very much for inviting me to your show. When I was a news reporter, like you were, you were one of the models. And I am privileged to be able
to talk to you. I always looked up to you, and you're one of the solid ones in this industry. So I commend you for that.
And to -- now let me explain to you why I'd voted against it, because that immigration bill has been a tradeoff for the Democrats between
infrastructure and socialism. They're saying that they want to transform this country, that this is going to be a transformational bill.
And, indeed, they are going to transform the United States. And that founding spirit that created the United States is going to be shot. And
that is the reason why I voted against this bill, because there has been a tradeoff between infrastructure and socialism. And I cannot allow that.
Number two, even more importantly, that bill, half of the bill, or 25 percent, I should say, is going to be paid by the debt, is not covered.
Number three, half of the bill is only going -- only half of the bill is going to what you and I know as traditional infrastructure. The rest is
That bill at this moment does not resolve the number one problem the average American family is facing, inflation, higher eggs, higher milk,
higher gas prices. So what we need to do is look for the money that's available. Florida has $6 billion in the united -- in the treasury in
We could be using that money for transforming, for infrastructure. But the problem is, is not so much the reconciliation bill that is coming up next,
according to Nancy Pelosi, or the infrastructure. What we're seeing here is that the Democrat -- the Democratic Party is trying to transform the
founding spirit of the United States.
AMANPOUR: OK. Can I stop you there?
SALAZAR: And that incentive...
AMANPOUR: Can I just stop you there? I mean, I'm hearing what you're saying.
And you are portraying some really urgent needs in the country, such as infrastructure, such as even helping your own district in Florida, as a
fundamental effort to transform the whole idea of the United States.
The truth is that, when we hear, us over here in Europe, the word socialism coming out of the United States, we just throw up our hands, because it's
so far from, that it's -- that it's just a slogan.
What I want to ask you, then, because of what we have been discussing, is do you not believe that climate, the crisis, affects your district and your
part of the world? Are you not concerned about that?
SALAZAR: I am very concerned and I have one of the longest coasts in the State of Florida, District 27. I have Biscayne Bay. But I'm not discussing
that. Obviously, we have to take care of sea level rising and the climate change. Absolutely. But when you say that socialism is a slogan, I am -- I
come from a district that has felt socialism on their skin. Socialism is a nefarious ideology.
And unfortunately, according to my view and to my constituents and my voters, socialism has penetrated the Democratic Party, and you're seeing
it. The radicals. They belong to an organization called the Democratic Socialist Organization of America, and they're Marxists. And Marxism only
means three things. Oppression, repression, and exile.
AMANPOUR: We're going to get to this regarding Nicaragua. But you know as well as I do, probably better than I do, because you're no longer a
journalist, you're actually a congressman who can actually do things and facts matter, Congresswoman, that government spending is not socialism but
Let us just play what President Obama said about the climate crisis, which doesn't recognize the word socialism, Marxism or even Democrat and
Republican. It's about all of us, all of humanity. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It doesn't matter if you're a Republican or a Democrat if your Florida house is flooded by rising seas or
your crops fail in the Dakotas, or your California house is burning down. Nature, physics, science do not care about party affiliation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I guess I just wanted -- I mean, do you agree with that, that this is a physical factual scientific issue that doesn't care about
parties or ideologies and particularly, when we talk about right now about Nicaragua, this pressure among many others, of climate catastrophe, is also
causing people to come into the United States and mass migration movements?
SALAZAR: I am not questioning that climate change is something that we have to address. And I just told you, I'm in Florida 27. Biscayne Bay is
part of my district. And I know that we have to take care of it and that we have to invest resources. And Miami Beach has a major problem with sea
level rising, and North Bay Village. I understand what you're telling me, but I do believe you take care of that through other means. Through
I'm not saying that you ignore it. Absolutely. I understand that the fish are not Republicans, Democrats or independents. That the (INAUDIBLE) we
need to preserve our natural resources. And Florida, tourism is the economy, economy is tourism and the economy tourism is climate change. I'm
not -- I don't disagree. What I'm saying is that, when you ask me about infrastructure and about the reconciliation bill that is coming right
after, all I'm saying is that those two bills are specifically the reconciliation bill that the Dems call the human infrastructure.
What we're doing in reality is that we are changing the American psyche. We're changing the -- we're corroding the founding spirit of the country,
which is to wake up in the morning, take risks, be responsible for your own actions and not make God the government or government God. That's what I'm
saying. And when you tell me about -- OK.
AMANPOUR: All right. OK. Let's go to Nicaragua. So, the government, this administration has called the election, which we said over the weekend, a
sham pantomime election. Is the administration's response and I will give you a bit -- I'll read some in a minute, but is the response enough? What
are you looking for having helped pass that legislation about election reform and the like in Nicaragua?
SALAZAR: It's embarrassing. It's embarrassing what the State Department is doing in Central America. But not only Nicaragua, in Venezuela and Cuba.
Every -- all over Latin America. And why do I say it's embarrassing? I have hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans who live in District 27. I was the
Central American bureau chief. While you were in the Middle East, I was covering the Reagan War between the Sandinistas and the Contras.
I know the Nicaraguans very well. Could you imagine what it is that the whole political capital that President Ronald Reagan invested in Central
America, specifically against the Sandinistas that we are back at square one? That once again, Daniel Ortega, in the eyes of the State Department
stole, not only last night's election, but stole the country
Seven of the presidential contenders are in a dungeon. They have been there for more than five months. How do I know? Because one of them, Arturo Cruz,
was my first husband. One of the leaders of the Contra. How could you be in jail just because you're running as a presidential contender because you
want democracy in your country? That's Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas, but where is the State Department? Where's the beacon of hope which is this
country, the United States? They have been begging, beseeching, calling my office saying, why don't you do something?
So, we pass the RENACER Act. Thank God that President Biden is saying that he is going to sign it. And what is that going to be sending, Christiane?
It's going to be sending the message to Ortega late and pretty weak message but nonetheless, it's there, that you cannot go to Paris or to Italy or to
Miami and enjoy the fruits of what you stole from the national treasury.
But still, we have not sent the message that the United States needs to be sending to that type of dictators in our backyard, that you cannot be
stealing elections just like that in broad daylight.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you something I that touched on before, immigration. Because, clearly, this all has an impact. The people who can't live under
that regime in Nicaragua are going to want to leave it. More than 100,000 Nicaraguans are seeking refuge. As you know, primarily right now in Costa
Rica and many of them are likely to try to come to your country, to the United States.
So, should the U.S. welcome these Nicaraguans who are fleeing this repressive regime? What is your view on that?
SALAZAR: It's a very complicated topic because if you are Nicaraguan, obviously, I would pack up my kids and everything that I own and I would
come up north because the gringos, the Yankees are going to treat me a lot better than my own compatriots. So, that's what's happening. But at the
same time, we're in a situation where we cannot be allowing the whole world to come. So, that's why I go back to Ronald Reagan. He had it right. He
would fight the Sandinistas with everything he had, diplomatically speaking. He was the guy who forced the Sandinistas to give elections in
1989, and that's why the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro was able to win. So, Reagan had it right.
And second, let's invite the American companies to go and set up shop in Central America. Give tax breaks. Tax incentives, whatever it takes.
AMANPOUR: So, not sanctions?
SALAZAR: Let's move jobs from China. Well, sanctions. We have sanctions but you were asking about the immigration reform. And then, that's another
problem that we have as Americans. We need to reform the immigration system that we have. It's in shambles. It's another embarrassment, but this is for
the United States. It's time after Reagan to have an immigration reform law and that's one of my next projects. What I will like you to --
AMANPOUR: Definitely needs one.
SALAZAR: And I have one called the Dignity Act that I would like to come to your show and explain to you what I think we should be doing as
Republicans, Democrats, and independents and sit at the table, not try to squeeze this through reconciliation to see if the parliamentarian will
allow it to stick. No, it's not responsible.
AMANPOUR: All right, Congresswoman. Wish we had more time. Congresswoman Salazar, thank you for joining us.
And sticking with politics now, but with some much-needed comic relief inserted, stand-up, Roy Wood Jr. is best known as a correspondent for "The
Daily Show" with Trevor Noah. Who said, I never dodges the tough topics. And his new hourlong special for "Comedy Central" is no exception. It's
called "Imperfect Messenger" and it tackles everything from race and police reform to mass shootings and celebrity activism. Here he is talking to Hari
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Roy Wood Jr., thank you so much for joining us.
ROY WOOD JR., Comedian, "Imperfect Messenger": Thank you all for having me.
SREENIVASAN: All right. So, you know, this -- when I was watching it, I could almost feel the heat from the TV. I mean, this is fresh from the
oven, so to speak. I have never heard of a comedy special being done so close. I mean, we're talking now and it's less than a month old. How did
WOOD JR.: The idea at the time, back in February, when we were kind of figuring out, OK, I know I should have the material ready by October, but
when do we want to air it? And at that time, in February, the news cycle was turning over fast. And my stand-up isn't introspective. It's about the
world around us.
WOOD JR.: So, the world changes. Like I'm liable to have a joke about the Delta variant and then we've moved on to lambda, echo, Charlie, omega,
zeta. So, at no point, that I want this material to feel out of touch.
WOOD JR.: So, I wanted to do -- you know, and I had to give hats off to "Comedy Central" and the production company to make this turn happen. I
mean, there is always some hiccups and things like that, but it was important to me to have material that was comedy is at its best when it is
a reflective of the time we are currently in.
SREENIVASAN: I want to play one of the clips that you talk about a little bit and the first clip here, it's something that we really haven't thought
about when it comes to police reform. Let's take a look at the ways that police speak to each other.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOOD JR.: I got two cops in my family, which is kind of like saying some of my best friends are black. Well, I do. I got two cops in my family.
Chicago Suburb and a Mississippi State Trooper. We get to talking about everything that's going on. And I was trying to explain to him, it's base
level [bleep] the police could be doing. We are not talking legislation and policy. Just base level [bleep] that you could do to help build a bridge,
to make things a little better.
First thing the police need to do. This is the one thing I think the police should start doing. Stop talking in code on the radio. Use regular words.
Why you all talking all these abbreviations and [bleep]? Why you keeping secrets? Secrets is what got you in trouble all this time. Stop keeping
secrets. You are not in Iraq. You aren't giving away your position to the enemy. Use regular words. You're in front of the Walgreens. I could see
you. Everybody could see you. But that ain't what the police do.
You're at the police (INAUDIBLE) teacher on the radio. It's gibberish. Any time the police talk to each other, it's just gibberish. And we'll be
watching the police in the grocery store. They see us looking at the radio. Th police love to play it off like they understood what dispatch talking
about. 3 Adam David, 3 Adam David. Respond code 2. 10-4. You don't know what she just said. Stop [bleed] around. You don't know what she just said
to you. And you wonder why the police show up and shoot the wrong person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: So, I got to ask, with these two officers in your family, what's the Thanksgiving table like?
WOOD JR.: It's fine. We'll start there. Just a base level statement. It's fine. It's all love. But there are two different mile markers in their
career, you know, one is a couple years from retirement while the other one is just starting to hit the stride and get the promotions and, you know,
trying to head towards lieutenant. We talk a lot about what's going on.
You know, we don't get into a lot of the nuance, but I think it's helped round out my view on policing a little bit, to have two cops in my family,
to be able to sit and listen to their stories of what they deal with, because I know their intentions to be pure, and there's definitely a lot of
influences that keep them from doing everything, and I think that's the part that I think where policing is, I don't want to say misunderstood, but
there is a lot of nuance that we aren't privy to as civilians to what that job is like and what cops have to do and what they're also up against to a
larger degree, from the government and politicians.
SREENIVASAN: What do you think the structural barrier is? I mean, right now, you had the George Floyd, the justice and policing act, that didn't
move. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act, that's stuck.
WOOD JR.: I think that there has to be more appeal to getting politicians in place. You know, I sometimes feel like I don't know if we can leave
righteousness up to the American voter. I don't know if a policy is solely rooted in the American people voting on it, I don't know. But I do trust
that politicians have, there are more levelheaded politicians than not. And finding those and giving those -- and even centrists, like I'm not even
talking about just -- everything's got to be blue or else it's going to be crazy, but just you don't need anybody that's just going to aliens are
coming, let's go to -- like, you have to remember, the people we're expecting to vote on making this country a better place are the same people
who went to Dallas, Texas, to wait and see if John F. Kennedy's dead body was going to appear at the assassination site so that he could take the
presidency back from Joe Biden. This is a fact. Everything I just said is true.
So, you're going to be hard pressed to speak logic into people sometimes. And so, it's almost like you need --- it's almost a situation where you
need more responsible parents to come in and straighten out the kids. You know, I do think that there's a high degree of performative wokeness in
A lot of people wearing shirts, how you vote. Show me your ballot. Take a picture of that. Put that on your shirt. If you want it like -- we're
talking allyship, like that's the stuff that, you know, we can be whatever we want to be out here in the world but when you get into the voting booth,
that's who you really are and the fact these acts have stalled and the fact that certain laws didn't pass after huge monumental movement, we're having
a moment and this country is finally reckoning with this recent -- is it though? Is it?
SREENIVASAN: We just had an election where there are members now elected into state offices, school boards that were at the January 6th riot,
they're not this prison. They have been -- they have won the confidence of their neighbors
WOOD JR.: Yes. And these are the parents showing up to the school meetings to make sure X, Y, Z is not enforced. Oh, we had a women's march. I think
we made some progress. I think they heard us. Texas didn't hear you. So, that becomes this place where, you know, are our voices enough? Do we need
better politicians in office to help change this? But getting them in office because North Carolina's gerrymandering.
Like they got it down to the point where they could split a building into two different districts. What side of the hallway do black people work on?
All right, that's not in my district. I've got to give it up to them. Racism is getting craftier and craftier though.
SREENIVASAN: Pre-pandemic, maybe #MeToo or post #MeToo, there was -- I don't know you want to call it accountability culture or cancel culture,
I'm wondering where you think about that. I mean, should the standards be different for artists? Should a Roy Wood Jr. or Dave Chappell be able to
say things in a satirical form or humorous way that shouldn't be the same as what a CEO does than when they're sitting at their desk and talk to
WOOD JR.: I think performers should be given certain guardrails. And I think what's happening, my opinion is that, you know, we're just in a time
now where people, members of marginalized communities they're like, I don't like that joke. I don't want to hear that. You know what? I'm going to type
something really quickly to let everybody know I don't like that. And I think that's the only difference between now and the '60s and '70s, but you
also had a time where comedians were being arrested. Comedians were being taken to jail for the things that they were saying.
To me, that's cancel culture. What's happening right now, in my opinion, with comedy is just people having an opinion. All right. You go to college,
show them college kids didn't want to hear that edgy joke that would have flown in 1995. They don't want to hear it. So, they have a right to that.
So, you can adjust to the market or you can perform solely to people who like that type of humor and more often those are outside of the mainstream
and it's not going to be on TV and you're going to have opportunities taken away from you from groups and entities that care about the opinions for
others, if not for morality, solely for the fiscal purposes of it.
And to me, that's the bigger issue when we get into a lot of the righteousness that comes from cancelling someone and believing that a
corporation actually cares about your ideals. I don't believe for one moment that most of these companies care about that, these companies care
about making money and if something controversial makes them a little bit of money, they're going to do it, unless enough people on the other side go
wrong, wrong, wrong, and the company doesn't want to look bad because the (INAUDIBLE) of the stock price, OK, you know what, we've thought -- well,
they say, we've heard your cries and we have decided to take that wrongful thing off the platform. I mean, there's a lot of hypocrisy, you know, in
SREENIVASAN: You've got a funny bit in the special about allyship and, again, sort of arena of police reform, what police could do. Let's take a
look at that clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOOD JR.: The other thing the police could do, this would really build a bridge, every cop in this country once a month, let it [bleep] go. I'm
serious. Not every day, not every shift, not every week but just once a month, let it [bleep] go. And not for every crime. I'm not saying for all
crime. There are certain crimes that have to be -- like murder, ATF, SVU, like you keep the hits. You know, the major crime, you still got to go to
jail for that.
But a lot of crime that's out there that cops take us to jail for, you ain't got to take me to jail for this, man. Come on, dog. Just because it's
a crime don't mean that you've got to enforce it. Really, dog. Crack, you're going to take me to jail for some crack? Like, crack. That's what
you're arresting people for still? Crack, cocaine? I'm talking about my own personal allotment for me. My own -- my A crack. One -- a single rock. A
crack. You're going to take me to jail for a crack, sir? That's what you're going to do? It's drugs, dog. It's an addiction. It's not criminal. Drop me
off at the don't do crack no more bill and go fight the real crime.
Because that's how you build the bridge. Because the rift between good cop and bad cop and the argument, it just boils down to who had a good
interaction with the police. That's all it boils down to. And if once a month, you let [bleep] go, you ar creating allies out the [bleep].
(END VIDEO CLIP)
One of my cousins agrees with this policy.
SREENIVASAN: Well, you know, in a strange way, it's also a little bit of the privileges that we kind of know exist in society, right? I mean, we all
have a friend who tell us about something that they got away with. The time that they got pulled over and they just said this and just did this and the
cop let them go.
WOOD JR.: Yes.
SREENIVASAN: It just depends on who you are and what you look like and what -- you know, sort who wants turns the other way.
WOOD JR.: You know, I just think -- you know, awareness aside, where we have to have more people positive interactions that feel genuine and
regular and not force propaganda, like when you get into the cops playing basketball in your neighborhood or, you know, when you get into passing out
the ice cream and, you know, like speaking with one of my cousins, the younger cop, you know, his assertion and this gave me a little bit of
perspective, was that more often than not, when the police are doing something that is morally sound, there are no cameras present for that and
there is not a lot of praise there for that and we're not talking, like, I give you a perfect example.
So, we did a story about -- for "The Daily Show." We did a story about ice deportations that were happening in the neighborhood in Jersey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
We're looking for people who look undocumented. What do they look like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not really any type --
WOOD JR.: What about that? What about that, right there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know that. We don't know that, right?
WOOD JR.: So, then, you got to pull them over. We got to talk to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For what?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOOD JR.: Through the course of that, we met a local cop who was part of the people that are pushing that against this federal thing that's coming
in and ruining a lot of the brown community in this New Jersey town. And just in casual chitchat, we find out, oh, yes, this cop coaches a baseball
team from free on the side between shifts and it's like straight mentoring half the neighborhood. And it's like, that's the stuff a camera should be
pointed at as well to help give, you know, some degree, you know, of perspective, so that it doesn't feel -- like, that, to me, that's not
performative because that's your time. You are really invested in people.
SREENIVASAN: You mentioned the allyship in kind of a funny context about police and we've talked a little bit about this but what is an appropriate
allyship? How can people express that in a meaningful way, not just a virtue signaling way?
WOOD JR.: I think it's just about educating yourself on what people are going through and immersing yourself in those worlds. So, it could be
something as Googling and reading a book. It could be simple as volunteering somewhere. It could be something as simple as educating
yourself on more programs, which could be a part of.
You know, it's not a t-shirt and money. That's part of it. You know, I'm not saying don't wear your shirt because that's also an important message
to other people that are in your community that aren't even thinking about the things that you're thinking about. So, you know, I'm not saying go home
for Thanksgiving and pop in "Selma" and then "Roots" and then, "When They See Us," but, you know, if conversations come up and the opportunity starts
presenting themselves about voting and trying to put all that black history in the history books, well, that's just history. It's not black history,
it's just history.
You know, so, I think having those conversations, and I joke about that in the special about how, don't talk to your black friends about race, talk to
your forefathers. And so, that's just kind of a tongue in a cheaper way of saying, talk about this to the people in your community because they're the
ones that are going to be disseminating back out into the world and interacting with us and we want them to be a little more educated. Create
more U's (ph).
SREENIVASAN: The special is called "Imperfect Messenger," it's on "Comedy Central" now. Roi Wood Jr., thank you so much.
WOOD JR.: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that is it for now. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.