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Interview with Former British Conservative MP and Former British Minister of State for Europe and North America Alan Duncan; Interview with British Shadow Foreign Secretary and British Labour MP David Lammy; Interview with "Weapons of Mass Delusion" Author and NYT Magazine Contributor Robert Draper; Interview with Iranian Singer Googoosh. Aired 1- 2p ET
Aired October 20, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to "Amanpour". Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Liz Truss resigns after the first time in office in British history. Political chaos, economic and social pain. What next
for turbulent Britain? Plus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEIR STARMER, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: We cannot have a revolving door of chaos. We can't have another experiment at the top of the Tory Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: As calls for a general election intensify, can the Conservative Party rebuild? We get the view from the Tories and from a key neighbor
politician, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy.
Then, America's political turmoil. "Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Party Lost Its Mind", author and journalist Robert Draper tells
Michel Martin why he believes this new breed of Republicans threatens democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Before there was ever a Madonna there was Googoosh. The Iranian singing superstar joins me with her own story of repression and her support
for protesters back home.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
45 days, Liz Truss's time in office. Cementing herself as the country's shortest serving prime minister ever. Who presided over a period of utter,
I may say, self-inflicted chaos. Her economic plan tanked the pound, sent markets into freefall, raised interest rates, and threw ordinary British
people into panic about their mortgages and cost of living.
Her slew of tax cuts for the wealthy has been ditched now by her new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt. As a parade of cabinet ministers and MPs deserted
Truss, it all came to a head with shambolic scenes in a vote in parliament last night with allegations of man-handling and bullying by members of her
Now, just yesterday, Liz Truss vowed that she was a fighter, not a quitter. 24 hours later, here is her resignation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And we set out a vision for a low tax, high growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit. I
recognize, though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to
his majesty, the King, to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The Conservative Party will now hold yet another leadership election aiming to have other prime minister in place by next Friday at the
latest. But the calls for a general election or certainly growing louder. Here is a leader of the main opposition, Labour Party, Keir Starmer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEIR STARMER, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: What a mess. And this is not just a soap opera at the top of the Tory Party. It is doing huge damage to our
economy and to the reputation of our country. And the public are paying with higher prices, with higher mortgages. So, we cannot have a revolving
door of chaos. We can't have another experiment to the top of the Tory Party. There is an alternative, and that's a stable Labour government. And
the public are entitled to have their say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, European leaders and the American president are looking at this as well. This one stalwart ally with deep concern. Can, should the
Conservative Party really govern now? Joining me on that is Alan Duncan, a former Tory MP and cabinet minister.
Welcome to the program, Alan Duncan.
ALAN DUNCAN, FORMER BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP AND FORMER BRITISH MINISTER OF STATE FOR EUROPEAN AND NORTH AMERICA: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Look, I just want to start by asking you to react, not just to what's happened but you just heard Sir Keir Starmer way ahead in the polls
saying that we simply cannot have this revolving door of chaos at the top. Even your prime minister, who you served, Theresa May, has said that there
must be competent leadership. Is it possible?
DUNCAN: Gosh. Well, I think it is just possible. I mean, we've now got a competent finance minister, and that's settled the markets very well. But
we have because we've got through so many ministers and prime ministers reach the third division of quality. And what we've got is a vacuous
intellectual position, everything is confused. Inadequate qualities of leadership. And too many young people just rising up the ladder, self-
serving, thinking they deserve a senior position, but they're not ready for high office in any way at all.
So, I think we have can have competence. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Truss had no leadership qualities, and complete intellectual emptiness
which then rattled the markets when she put forward ideologic -- ideologically simplistic ideas into markets which just said, sorry, get
lost. You're nuts.
So, you probably now want to know what is going to happen.
AMANPOUR: I do. But you know what, Alan Duncan. We do have a problem. A scratchy line. So, we are going to redial you and we're going to come back
just as soon as we've redialed. We're going to go to another interview and we're going to come right back because this is really important.
Now, as we said, the Labour Party is calling for a general election. A little earlier, I spoke to David Lammy, the Shadow Foreign Secretary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: David Lammy, welcome to the program.
DAVID LAMMY, BRITISH SHADOW FOREIGN SECRETARY: Thank you so much. Good to join you.
AMANPOUR: So, we're standing in front -- or rather, you are, the Houses of Parliament where there's been all might chaos that's going on there, at the
heart of what's known as the mother of all parliaments. Is this resignation in this Tory implosion a moment for your party to rub its hands in glee or
is it a poisoned chalice?
LAMMY: Well, look, let's just stand back for a moment, Christiane. I would like to think that historically that building behind me is one of the
cradles of democracy on the globe, on our planet. And what we've seen over this last period, four chancellors of the exchequer in as many months,
three prime ministers now, I'm afraid is not befitting of a G7 Nation. A country with a seat on the security council, it's just not what you expect
to the British democracy.
And it is why, given the chaos that we've seen over the last few weeks with the U.K. economy, how it's not just affected us but, of course, it affects
the global economy. We need stability in our country. And the only way to get that in our democracy and now is to have a general election. Allow the
British people to give the new government a mandate to determine a way forward.
And of course, this is an opportunity for the Labour Party to present its case, not to trickle-down the economics. A buildup economics. Built on
green's prosperity where we are leading in renewables. We're leading in solar and nuclear. And we are standing alongside the British people in this
very tough cost of living energy crisis, and now mortgage crisis as a result of what the Conservatives have done to our economy.
AMANPOUR: And I want to get to that because it is massively important. Because it's all about how it affects the people, obviously. But first I
want to ask you because you talk about democracy and a general election. But how exactly would that work? Because we hear from the Tories and, you
know, the way the rules are. There will be another leader, I guess, proclaimed. Chosen by a few of them. And apparently you don't even have to
have an election, according to, you know, the rules for the next year or year and a half or whatever it is. How do you see the political process
LAMMY: Well, look, Liz Truss ran her majesty, the King. And his majesty, the King, forgive me. And she put in her resignation. At that point, we
could've had a general election. It is, down now to the Conservative Party to do the right thing and give us certainty. You are quite right that if
the Labour Party called the vote of no confidence in this government, because there in an in built 71 seat the majority. It is unlikely that we
would win that unless Conservative MPs joined us in that vote. And many say that turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
But I think the British public are looking in on this pantomime. And my, God, it's been a pantomime for the last -- not just the last month, but the
last few years. Given the crisis of Boris Johnson and his partying and the sleet attached to him as the former prime minister. They are looking in and
I am afraid they are seeing the spectacle and that's why we say the right thing to do is call a general election. And the Conservative Party can
bring that about today if it wants to do that rather than clinging on for power in this desperate way.
AMANPOUR: David Lammy, you can see. You probably notice it that Boris Johnson's allies are floating this trial balloon that he will come right
into the rescue. Is that even possible? Is he allowed, having resigned, to, you know, throw his hat into the -- I know it's not your party, but do you
expect that to happen?
LAMMY: Well, look it is an indication of the desperation that they are in. This is a man that was kicked out of office just four months ago. This is a
man who partied while people lost their lives in our country during the pandemic. This is a man facing a privileged inquiry, which is yet to report
in parliament. And this is a man who behaved very poorly in terms of his judgment as prime minister in dealing with someone who is facing
accusations of sexual misconduct, who he promoted despite knowing that within his own government.
And so, for all of those reasons I think people will be incredulous that the Conservative Party believe at this moment that so bare is the cupboard
that they should return to someone with all of that sleaze and that scandal surrounding him. That is why, I am afraid, so many commentators across the
world are looking in on the United Kingdom and they're saying, what the hell is going on? This is really rocky. We can't believe this of this
nation that we fought for so long was stable. We now need to bring this pantomime to an end.
AMANPOUR: Well, you -- and you mentioned that. And you are the shadow foreign secretary. We heard from President Macron today precisely what you
are saying that he and Europe wants to see the U.K. return to stability as soon as possible. We know that the Biden administration is watching this
crisis very carefully. President Biden himself took the unusual step of commenting and criticizing the Truss tax plans for the wealthy, and also
trickled down, he criticized. Do you think that it is possible to restore Britain's role on the international stage?
LAMMY: Well, you are absolutely right. We're the sixth richest economy in the world. And so, what happen here, in terms of the economy, can have a
contagion effect in other parts of the world. And that is why this is such a concern.
Look, I think that your viewers can see that at this time the Conservative Party is horrendously divided. Those divides will remain. And whoever leads
them will still have to manage those divides. Boris Johnson was unable to hold them together. Liz Truss has been unable to hold them together. It
really has been divided ever since the Brexit vote and the ERG, if you like, the right-wing flank of the Conservative Party. A bit like the Tea
Party and the Republican Party in the United States of America.
But this really is holding the country back at this desperate economic time. I think one of her MPs described Liz Truss as a libertarian jihadist.
That is how desperate it is. And many people will have seen the commentary from fellow MPs in the Conservative Party about the state of those
Please take your divisions off camera, deal with them, and then you might be able to come back to the British people. But for all of these reasons,
we need stability. And the only way you'll get to get that, I think, is with a change of government.
AMANPOUR: So, David Lammy, what would Labour's plans for the country be? I mean, you can't magic away a multi-billion pound hole in the budget. We're
told that it may be more austerity, spending is going to be slashed and burned. We're even hearing that there are so-cold warm rooms for people who
cannot heat their houses and having to go to community areas to stay warm. And we're not even in the middle of winter, yet.
Now, you're -- you mentioned Brexit. European papers and commentators are now saying that this entire crisis, they're basically saying they're
blaming Brexit for U.K. political, "Insanity". You're not going to relitigated it. The Labour has said the Brexit is done, et cetera.
So, what is your plan, as a party, to fix the situation that we find ourselves in right now, particularly the economic crisis?
LAMMY: Well, look, you are absolutely right. We've had this extraordinary spectacle of too many budget with no fiscal forecast. And in no
relationship with the OBR who'd give us those fiscal forecasts. We will get that forecast on the 31st of October. And we will -- it looks like we're
going to have a new prime minister at that point, who'll only have been in the job about 24 hours which is extraordinary in of itself.
It is at that point that we, as the Opposition and the rest of the country and the rest of the globe, will fully understand the numbers that lie
behind the economics that we've seen from this government in the last few weeks. But the predictions are that we have a gap of between 62 and 74
billion pounds. This is an extraordinary amount of money.
And of course, no one in this country voted for further spending cuts. We had a decade of austerity under Conservatives. What they want, I think,
Christiane, is not a trickle-down economics but it's a buildup economics.
You've got to be a government that stands alongside people in tough times. And so, you've got to support them with energy. We said right from the
beginning, take the money from the oil and gas companies and their excess profits in North Sea Oil like other countries have done. The government
broadly rejected our plan. I think that they're going to have to return to that plan in a few weeks times.
We've said deal with non-dom status. And you remember that there was a scandal with Rishi Sunak and his wife, the billionairess and where she was
paying her tax. We would deal with that loophole and save money as a consequence. There are areas where we would like to invest and spend. But
only where it is clear that that is going to produce jobs and benefits to the wider country.
We set out a green prosperity plan. A new British company, J.B. Energy, because we want to lead on renewables. We want to lead on solar. We want to
lead on nuclear. We want to lead on the technology that gets us not just out of this crisis, but gets us into that modern economy that we know the
United Kingdom can be. So, we've got our plan. We'd like now the opportunity to put that to the people of this country and for them to
determine the direction of travel.
AMANPOUR: We will see what happens. As you say, after October 31st. For now, David Lammy, Shadow Foreign Secretary, thank you for being with us.
LAMMY: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So now, we return to our conversation with the former Tory MP and Cabinet Minister, Alan Duncan, who's been listening to a lot of that, I
hope. And we've got you reconnected. So, welcome back.
DUNCAN: Yes, thank you.
AMANPOUR: We ended where you said that, no doubt you want to know what's going to happen next. So, yes. But first and foremost, what about David
Lammy's suggestion that the situation of appointing -- whatever your rules are, you know, another unelected, by the people, leader is part of a deeply
DUNCAN: No, we have a parliamentary system, not a presidential system. And so, what people do as a general election is pick a parliament. And our
prime minister, and they often change in the middle of the parliament is the leader of the majority party in that parliament, the one that can
control or command a majority. So, anyhow, in his party, Howard Wilson changed to James Callaghan, Tony Blair changed to Gordon Brown. So, really,
I'm afraid, he was utterly incoherent as indeed was he on all his economic stuff, too.
So, what I do agree with him about is it's a right mess at the moment. No one can deny that. And what we have lacked is authority and financial good
sense. I think the financial side that's comes back. I think the political side now needs to be tightened up. And I think that what's important is not
that we go to a general election now because what's going to happen? If you have a general election now, it would involve the Conservative Party, which
is the majority of 70 committing what would I describe as sort of voluntary euthanasia.
And you'd have just an election with no choice because the party has been so smashed. An election is about what you'd have is a massive Labour
majority and a one-party state. And nobody has yet questioned the Labour Party properly on what their platform for government is. And so, we would
be going straight into a new government who's at carte blanche to do absolutely anything they wanted.
DUNCAN: And then people would be very angry when they find out what that is.
AMANPOUR: Alan, it sounds very much like what the Conservatives did. Carte blanche with no taking to the people. This radical libertarian economic
plan that, as you say, has become a real mess, that they've had to ditch. Let's not get into arguments about that right now. Clearly, neither party
is going to agree about the election.
DUNCAN: Yes, but we fixed it. Yes.
AMANPOUR: You fixed it for the markets, but not for the people. Interest rates are really high. Their mortgages are going to be really difficult to
repay. People are having to ditch house buying plans right now. People are having to go to warm centers, you know, to --
DUNCAN: I agree with that. Yes, yes.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, now --
DUNCAN: I agree with that. You don't need to list it because it's happening all over Europe.
AMANPOUR: Yes, well --
DUNCAN: And you're right, I think we've made it worse.
DUNCAN: I think we've made it worse, that's undeniable. But it's not all caused by what happened. And we have reversed it, which is good sense. And
I used to be Jeremy Hunt's deputy when he was foreign secretary. So, we will stick to that and we're going to have to focus, I think, particularly
on poorer people who can't pay their bills. That's what we should do a lot more of.
AMANPOUR: Well, again, that's not clear either because we don't know about the cutting, you know, the spending cuts. And we don't know whether they're
going to do welfare, and this and that, in line with inflation. So, again, that's still on the table and people are really worried about it. But we
DUNCAN: Yes. OK. Yes.
AMANPOUR: We got interrupted -- I know -- I'm glad you agree. We got interrupted about what happens next, Alan. Who is -- do you think is going
to be the next leader?
Apparently the 1922 Committee head says that it may not be more than three people able to run. You've got to get 100 signatures and -- anyway, do the
math, it might just be three people. Who do you think it should be?
DUNCAN: No, that's right. Well, as of a couple of days ago, what I was saying in interviews, well, it's not about who. It's about how. Now, that
question about how has largely been answered today because what we've had in the last two leadership contest is a load of absolutely inappropriate
people, immature people, managing to get to the list of the chosen. And that has led to utter absurdity.
So, now by sending that -- because we have 300 -- what, 350 MPs. In order to be nominated, you have to get 100 people saying, I want to nominate you.
That'll mean you can have a maximum of three candidates, and that's how it always should have been.
And so, probably we will get to right from the start, and then very quickly have one ballot. And then I -- and that all -- the two people can go
through to the members. I don't think they should. I hope that we can pick one person out from the MPs within the 48 hours of this starting next week,
and then have a new prime minister immediately in place.
AMANPOUR: Do you have any names that you would, you know, that you would throw in? Who would be -- who would you back? Who do you think are the
responsible, experienced ones who you think should run?
DUNCAN: I think the most responsible one is not going to run, who I think is Jeremy Hunt. But Rishi Sunak, who obviously was a runner-up last time,
will run. And I think he probably, sort of, as it were for our people. I think -- you know, names like, Suella Braverman, who resigned yesterday as
home secretary. I mean, for goodness' sake. I mean, she's been in parliament for two minutes, she's got far too high opinion of herself, and
she should just back off and back out. Any more than, sort of, in the middle there, I think it would be too big a leap to go straight into being
And it looks as though Boris is going to have another go.
AMANPOUR: But can he?
DUNCAN: I mean, love him or hate him --
AMANPOUR: I was going to ask you about that. The rules seem to suggest, at least as I read them, from your party, that you cannot try again if you've
had to resign.
DUNCAN: Well, I agree there may be some confusion there. But having gone through one prime minister in 44 days, I imagine that if someone were to
try and stop him standing again, there would be absolute outrage and carnage in the party. So, I mean, whatever those rules were, I'm sure that
if he wanted to run and he got the 100 or more nominations, he would.
So, I think we may well be looking at, sort of, Boris Johnson versus Rishi Sunak. I mean, the difficult thing is if only two people get 100 or more
nominations, does it go to the members or will it be decided by the MPs? And I think it would be catastrophic to go to the members. I think that
would accentuate our divisions, pit parliament against membership, which is sort of what we've had in the last few weeks. And I think that would
accelerate the continuing decline of the party.
AMANPOUR: Wow. Listen, you know, you say Boris Johnson. But we've heard the Opposition talk about his alleged sleaze. All the things that he's
being investigated for. The fact that he was partying while people were dying in this country. I mean, seriously, if that can happen again, it
beggars belief, I wonder, as former minister --
DUNCAN: Yes, it does.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Former minister of Europe and America, what you think of him -- of this country's reputation on the world stage right now. And I'm
going to play you, admittedly, he's a Labour politician, mayor city Khan at a world summit of members in Buenos Aires. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: When people heard this morning, have been asking me, what is going on in your country? On the one hand, you know, you're
showing global leadership for London. On the other hand, your country is a laughing stock. And there are (INAUDIBLE) here from the global south who
say, listen, we used a look upon the U.K. as providing certainty and calm. You got the mother of all parliaments. We look to you for moral leadership.
And we are a laughing stock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I know he's Labour. I know you disagree. But how do you as a -- we've got 45 seconds, restore Britain's credibility in the world at this
DUNCAN: I don't disagree with him. We are a laughing stock. It's just very rude to criticize your own country when you're abroad. That he doesn't
understand the sort of decency. I think the way to restore our reputation is to have a party unity around a policy of sound economic management. Do
the minimum in parliament, keep it simple, and tell it straight.
AMANPOUR: Tell it straight, you've just told us straight. Thank you. Alan Duncan, former tory minister and MP.
Now, there's a good deal of dysfunction in American politics right now too. And many ask, what is the future of the Republican Party?
With the majority of Republican candidates having either express doubt about the legitimacy of the 2020 election or rejected its result outright.
These are candidates, of course, in the midterms. Author and journalist, Robert Draper, examines how this sector of the GOP challenges American
democracy itself. He discussed in his new book called, "Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Party Lost Its Mind". And he told Michel
Martin what lies ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Robert Draper, thank you so much for talking with us.
ROBERT DRAPER, AUTHOR, "WEAPONS OF MASS DELUSION" AND CONTRIBUTOR, NYT MAGAZINE: It's truly a pleasure to be on. Thanks for having me, Michel.
MARTIN: So, your book covers the 18 months that took place since January 6th. And you say it represents the pivot point between, this is not normal,
and, this is dangerous and not going away. Would you say more about that?
DRAPER: Sure. And directly on the heels of January the 6th, the thinking was, the Republican Party is surely going to reckon with itself, realize
that it had arguably egged on this insurrection. And would almost certainly descend into a kind of penitent meditation saying, wow, you know, we don't
want to go this way.
Instead, the party doubled down and really became an obliging host body for some of the most radical elements in America spewing disinformation and
using rhetoric that was increasingly violent.
MARTIN: And what made you decide to focus on this? I mean, was the seat of that planted on January 6th, when you said yourself, I have to see what
happens next or was there something else that made you think, this is what I need to do. This is where I need to vote.
DRAPER: The morning of January the 6th, 2021, was the game-changer for me. It's when I realized, you know, the party I'm writing about is altogether
different from the party that I'm seeing. And then in the weeks and months to follow, to see that both in the impeachment hearings and after that far
from going away, Donald Trump has holed over the Republican Party, became manifest. And that, you know, became especially clear when tracing the
trajectory of some of the right-wing characters like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, and others.
But in the broadest sense, what was happening was that people who, by any ordinary reckoning, you would figure, would be marginal characters, really
came to be dominant characters in terms of the party's message and the party's behavior.
MARTIN: You know, it's hard to pick out one of these figures to, kind of, focus in on because there are so many stories in your book. Like, I'm
thinking about Paul Gosar, for example, who had arguably, you know, one of the first public events that became January 6th. I mean, kind of this
argument that the election was stolen and that there's got to be some kind of, you know, confrontation to address it.
And even during the, sort of, the mob attack on the Capitol, was saying, yes, you know. This is not -- these aren't our people. No big deal here.
Nothing to see. I mean, I'm just so puzzled by that because to think that he was so well-known that he would not have been a target. Mobs have no
logic, you know? Mobs are not rational actors thinking you, but not you. That's not how it works.
DRAPER: Right. I'm glad you brought up Paul Gosar, who, I began the book with. And Gosar became, you know, the first to lead the charge with this
so-called stop the steal rallies in Arizona. He was the first, joined with Senator Ted Cruz, to protest the certification of the election.
And so, this guy who seemed to be a fringe character became rather central. There is another reason also why I focused on Gosar, and that's because,
you know, when you ask yourself, sort of, OK. Let's assume, for example, that the Republicans take back the House and they become, you know -- and
maybe even the Senate. And they're running the legislative branch. What will they do with that power?
Well, Gosar is a guy who actually, when he looks at himself in the mirror, he's a serious legislator. And he actually does want to get certain things
done, including critical infrastructure projects in Arizona and all that. The problem with Gosar is that he's viewed as such a reprehensible
character by Democrats and even people in his own party, that they won't work with the guy.
I mean, Gosar, for example, you know, as I mentioned in the book, refuses to call Joe Biden, President Biden because he does not recognize his
legitimacy. And Democrats have told me, including Democrats who are inclined otherwise to work with a guy like Gosar, that look, you know, I'm
not going to try to have as a co-sponsor for my bill a guy who won't call, you know, our leader, President Biden. I can't expect Democrats to sign on
to a bill that has a guy's name on as a co-sponsored, it can't happen.
So, this is the conundrum that the Republican Party faces, you know, going forward. How to be kind of political performance artist for the right on
the one hand, and to try to govern on the other.
MARTIN: A figure like him presents the problem for journalists, like us. Because in order to report on some of the most outrageous and disgusting
things he says, you have to repeat them.
MARTIN: And then, you are continuing to put this stuff in the public domain. And so -- right?
DRAPER: You are right. That's a dilemma we all face.
MARTIN: That's a conundrum.
DRAPER: Right. It is, it is. And so, you know -- so, you know -- and Gosar definitely has put us on the horns of that dilemma because he said some
incredibly, you know, obnoxious things and the anime that he posted of a cartoon character version of himself slaying President Biden and Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez. He said it was just a joke, but, you know, that stuff goes into the ecosystem and it creates a permission structure for the electorate
on the right to believe that it's OK to view this as a kind of, you know, holy war, where the right are a bunch of heroes and the super villains are
people on the left.
So, that's -- you know, that's part of it. The other part too, and I realize that, you know, it's a question I get a lot of, should we even be
giving any attention at all to people like Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz? Because that's all they want. They
just want attention. And if you don't give them attention, they will go away. Unfortunately, that is not true.
It's -- they've become people of influence, not because they do great committee work or something like that, or even, in Gosar and Greene's case,
sit on committees, but because they represent the MAGA base, the Trumpian base that has now become the central gravitational force within the
Republican Party. And that doesn't change by us refusing to cover them.
MARTIN: So, let's talk about, speaking of, you know, permission structure, you know, and people of influence, we have to talk about Marjorie Taylor
MARTIN: You say that the evolution of her popularity is basically a case study in GOP politics in the Trump era. So, Marjorie Taylor Greene, like
Paul Gosar, stripped of committee assignments, basically has a lot of time on her hands and is basically known for being a provocateur. So, tell us
about her. How did she get started in politics?
DRAPER: Sure, sure. Greene was a co-owner, with her husband, of the family construction firm in Georgia. Owned -- co-owned a cross fit gym and
otherwise, viewed herself as a homemaker all the way up until 2019 when she decided to run for office. And she caught a lucky break. The district that
she was running in, the Sixth District of Georgia, she was probably going to lose either in the primary or in the general election, but then, a new
district opened up. You know, much more conservative area of Northwest Georgia. She moved over to there and immediately styled herself as the
Trumpiest of candidate that played very, very well there.
And she showed up to Washington as someone with this QAnon past and with all these other, you know, offensive social media posts. And the basic view
was, this is someone who's going nowhere in a hurry. Then, as you reference, Michel, just one month into her tenure as a congresswoman, she
was stripped of her committee assignments by the Democrats after more offensive social media posts from her recent past had surfaced.
And at that point, yes, the view, and certainly for me covering it at this juncture of the Republican Party, I figured, you know, this is worth, you
know, maybe a few pages. But otherwise, Greene is a person of no importance. And yet, in that first fiscal quarter, she outraised, like,
every Republican on the hill. In her first year, she was the fourth highest fund-raiser of Republican house members, eclipse only by two of the
leaders, Minority Scalise and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as Dan Crenshaw. That's a phenomenal achievement for a freshman, of any
On top of which, she, you know, has this vast social media following. But the most critical thing is that because she's loyal to Trump, and Trump
loves Greene, Kevin McCarthy wants to be speaker has kept her close because he believes that he cannot be speaker unless he caters to basically Trump
and the people who worship Trump.
So, Greene wants to reach -- or has become a person of real, not just interest, but influence. And so, for those people who are asking themselves
the question, where is the Republican Party going? She's no longer a person who we all thought would be sitting at the "Star Wars" bar of political
rejects. She's one of the most important people in the Republican Party, like it or not.
MARTIN: So, talk to me about, what is the through line here of the folks that you profile? I mean, I think that people sort of see these people as
basically hecklers with jobs in Congress.
MARTIN: Because they're not really interested in legislating. What is their interest? Like what's the truth here?
DRAPER: So, two parts to that. What are they really trying to do here? Greene, for example, has listed a whole consolation of those to me. I mean,
she wants to finish the wall that Trump started, she wants a four-year moratorium on immigration, of any kind, she wants to repeal gun safety
laws, she wants to repeal any laws that attempt to address climate change. She -- I mean, there's -- you know, she wants a nationwide ban on abortion.
So, you know, there are plenty of things she stands for. It's a different question whether they accomplish those, whether they are capable of
Now, what's the through line of all of them? The through line, I would put distinctly, is that they are the title of the book. They are the weapons of
mass delusion. And what I mean by that is that they have promulgated disinformation that has now swallowed whole by tens of millions of
Americans who happen to be Republicans.
And obviously, chief among those is that the 2020 election was stolen. But it doesn't end there. It's also that, you know, the whole Russia thing was
a hoax, the January 6th was variously a nothing burger or a setup or something instigated by antifa. It was that the COVID vaccines, at minimum,
are ineffectual and at maximum are killers. That the mainstream media habitually lies and is in collusion with, you know, the deep state. And it
is that the Democrats are not just liberals, not even just socialists, but that the communists.
These are, you know, seemingly, you know, social media memes promulgated ceaselessly by Gosar, Greene, Madison Cawthorn, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz
and others, that nonetheless have become gospel for tens of millions of people.
MARTIN: So, now, the question becomes, what about all the other people who are not so taken with these bizarre conspiracies, many of which are rooted
in anti-Semitism and racism and, you know, all the other things? So, what about that? Where are they in this?
DRAPER: Yes. I mean, my book basically deals with three different types of Republicans. The first are the weapons of mass delusion type of Republicans
that you and I have just been talking about. The second are the very notably small handful of Republicans who have stood up to those spreaders
of mass delusion. Most notably, Liz Cheney, and played often in political price for doing so.
The much larger swath of Republicans, the third category, are those who you are referencing, Michel, who don't subscribe, you know, to these crazy
views, but recognize that a lot of their voters do, and they are scared of them. They -- and the rationale that they have said over and over, not just
to me, but to some Democratic officeholders who they are friends with, that, look, you know, I know you want me to denounce, you know, Matt Gaetz
and Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar. If I do that, I'm going to get primaried. And if I get primaried, I'm probably going to lose. And if I
lose, the person who comes to Capitol Hill, you're not going to like that person.
That person is going to be, you know, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene on steroids. And so, you will thank me later that I'm going to ground now
and being quiet about all of this. The problem with this scenario, which I think is an understandable scenario, a conundrum that a lot of Republicans
face, is that but then, how does all this end? You know, what's -- how do they foresee a scenario in which tens of millions of Americans who have
swallowed whole the lie that the 2020 election was stolen wake up one day and decide, man, that's not true, or that's not important to me?
MARTIN: What happened to the Democrats? Why are they so ineffectual in dealing with this phenomenon?
DRAPER: Sure. Well, I mean, part of it is, as you well know, Michel, that we are in a moment in time -- we are in a particular election cycle that
historically favors the party out of power, right? I mean, so, the midterms of 2022 tend to be a referendum on the sitting president and they tend to
result in a kind of check on that president by the opposition party picking up seats. And so, that's part of the headwind, historically, that the
But the other part is that the Democrats, you know, they're trying to push certain issues that are not top of lying to voters. And I'm not casting
judgment on them for doing so, I'm just stating it as a fact. We've seen in public opinion polls that uppermost in the electorate's mind is not these
states vis-a-vis American democracy, but instead, inflation and the economy. And democracy and voting rights are well down the list, and you
can't blame the Democrats for talking about that stuff, but it's also not utterly surprising that the electorate is responding more in terms of
Obviously, Republican voters and maybe some independents, we shall see on November the 8th, are the view that OK, you know, Herschel Walker, very
imperfect candidate, you know, may well have, you know, paid for an abortion. But he will be perhaps a deciding vote on matters near and dear
to us. We have seen this kind of Faustian bargain, of course, take place with the evangelicals and Donald Trump, who, you know, on his face, not
exactly the most appealing candidate. It would seem to be the evangelicals, now they've utterly embracing him because he gave them what they wanted.
And if Herschel Walker manages to cast deciding votes, then they really have just chosen not to care about his past.
MARTIN: And what about the former president, who -- or once and possibly future president, Donald Trump, what role does he play in this? Does this
movement even need him anymore?
DRAPER: No, he's certainly the galvanizing force and the catalyst, Michel. But I think you've, in a way, answered your own question. No, I don't think
the movement requires him anymore because he has shown the Republican Party a new way. You know, you will recall that after Romney lost to Obama in
2012, that the Republican Party, led by its national committee and its chairman rights previous, wrote this growth and opportunity project that
was basically about expanding the tent to attract more voters.
Well, Trump essentially said to the Republican Party, you don't need to do that. It's too hard to persuade people who don't like you to like you. It's
much easier to persuade people who like you, to love you. And that to demonize the other side in an effort to get the people who love you to turn
out, maybe suppress the other side, to suppress their vote.
And most of all, if all that fails, if that doesn't work out, and you lose, claim you won and they stole it from you, you know? That's the formula that
Trump has now laid out. We've already seen, you know, that being -- you know, we've heard, you know, Kari Lake, the gubernatorial candidate for
Arizona refuse to say that she will concede the race if she loses. Many other Republicans are saying that as well. They're taking their cues from
Trump, but they don't need Trump anymore. He has created a new and dangerous path that many Republicans are following.
MARTIN: Robert Draper, thank you so much for talking with us.
DRAPER: It's really a pleasure, thanks for having me, Michel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It's difficult to hear that these active attacks on democracy.
Now, it's hard to overstate just how famous my next guest is among Iranians at home and in the diaspora abroad. She's a cultural icon, a megastar, she
is Googoosh. Every Iranian knows her, so many adore her, including Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old whose death in the custody of the Morality Police
launched of the current wave of protest.
Look at these newly discovered videos of Mahsa singing along to one of her songs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Googoosh, like so many Iranian women today, knows all too well what it's like to lose her freedom. Because after the 1979 revolution, she
was banned from singing and effectively silenced for 21 years. She's now in her 70s, living and performing outside Iran. And I spoke to her from exile
in Los Angeles about her remarkable life and her message to the women back home right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Googoosh, welcome to the program from Los Angeles.
GOOGOOSH, IRANIAN SINGER (through translator): Thank you very much for inviting me.
AMANPOUR: Googoosh, look, you were the voice of Iran. In many ways, you still are. But, you know, before Madonna, before Beyonce, Cher, everybody,
you were the mega, mega pop star. What was it like? Do you remember what it was like in Iran before the revolution, what your career was like?
GOOGOOSH (through translator): I was very successful in all fields before the revolution. I was a teenager and I was a young singer. And as such, I
managed to introduce another style of singer, and I was --- I became known as a pop singer. And before me, there weren't pop singers as such, not the
way I performed. Because not only I sang, but I acted at the same time. I also danced while I was singing. That's why that style of performance, as
mine, especially among the young generation at the time, and, of course, my hair as well. I cut my hair very short.
So, I was a trendsetter and the young people loved it. And everyone, especially women, the women followed suit and they all went for Googoosh
AMANPOUR: So, Googoosh, it seems like an age away, like a century away when you look at what's happening in Iran right now. When you look at how,
you know, hair has to be covered with a mandatory hijab, how women are not allowed to sing and dance, and perform in public. Before I ask you to
comment on what's happening, what was it like for you when all of that changed overnight, in 1979, and you were silenced by the regime, you could
not perform in the Islamic republic?
GOOGOOSH (through translator): It was very painful. It was painful, not just for me, but it was painful for all female singers in Iran. They all
suffered the same fate as me, they were banned from singing.
When I returned to Iran, the revolution had just started. It was in its early days. And I was told -- in fact, I was asked to sign a pledge at Evin
Prison not to perform any more. And since then, I was forced to forget I was Googoosh and I transformed into an ordinary woman. And I was mainly at
AMANPOUR: How did you keep your spirits up?
GOOGOOSH (through translator): Mainly through sports, reading. I read a lot of books in all fields. And I tried my best to come to terms with this
situation. I had no other choice. I had to survive.
AMANPOUR: When you talk like this about what you lived through and the pain that, you know, I think I can see on your face and in your eyes, what
do you think of the women there now and the young girls who are defying this idea of being silenced and of being disappeared, being denied their
GOOGOOSH (through translator): I'm proud of them. And I wish, and I hope, in fact, I am certain that the women in my country will ultimately achieve
the freedoms that is their inherent right.
AMANPOUR: I know that you are going to record a piece of music this weekend to support the women, and the young girls. So, you are going to
recorded in the same place where they recorded, "We Are the World. And I wonder what you hope that your message will bring to the front lines of
GOOGOOSH (through translator): This song, with the help of several other female musicians, will give the message that the Iranian women will succeed
in bringing their wishes into fruition. It is the natural right of every human being, especially women to wear whatever they want, to live the way
they want, to be free, to say what they want to say, to be able to protest. In any case, to live the same way as men do.
For 43 years, the women in Iran have had to wear this hijab. Hijab is not just a scarf covering your head, it is something that subject -- oppresses
women in every possible way. And through my song, I want to say to my women in the country, don't despair. Continue to pursue this path and you will
undoubtedly succeed. You will succeed, we will succeed. All of us. Be the ones who are inside Iran or those who have been outside Iran, in exile for
AMANPOUR: Does it make you sad to be in exile, Googoosh? Because eventually, they did allow you to leave Iran. You were there for about, you
know, 20 years prevented from leaving. And you did leave, and you did start singing again, and there are amazing images. You just did a big tour in
Europe over this last year. What was it like to reconnect with your performing, your singing, and your adoring fans?
GOOGOOSH (through translator): It may not be possible for me to convey my feelings through words. However, I can tell you that after 21 years, when
the -- my voice having been imprisoned, when I first went onstage in Toronto in -- on air, in Air Canada Center, I could not believe it. I
thought I was dreaming. I was -- my whole body was shaking and I wasn't sure whether I would be able to perform my concert or not.
AMANPOUR: It's really poignant, but I'm just giving you the opportunity if there's any verse or anything you want to sing for the Iranian people who
will be watching this, go right ahead.
AMANPOUR: That is beautiful. Googoosh, thank you so much for being with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And at the end there, she was singing "Talagh." It's one of her most famous and popular songs.
Now, you won't want to miss our conversations with and about heroic women on tomorrow's show, holocaust survivor, Tova Friedman, and civil rights
pioneer, Rosa Parks.
That is it for now though. And if you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. On your screen now is
a QR code. All you need to do is pick up your phone and scan it with your camera. You can also find it at cnn.com/podcast and on all major platforms.
Just search "Amanpour." And remember, you can always catch us online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thank you for watching and goodbye from