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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Amanpour and Company.” Here’s what’s coming up.
She’s in a league of her own when it comes to the team of rival presidential historians. Doris Kearns Goodwin joins me to talk about her
new book “Leadership in Turbulent Times,” comparing our current political moment with times of trouble and glory past.
Then, the unlikely global success of Haifaa al-Mansour. The best-known movie director from Saudi Arabia. A country where both women and film are
Also, tonight, the United States spends far more on health care than any other developed country a yet, ranks amongst the lowest for results. Our
Hari Sreenivasan talks to a Dr. Prabhjot Singh about how the best health care begins at home.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I’m Christiane Amanpour in New York.
In a moment, I’ll be talking with Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin about her timely new tale about leadership in turbulent times.
But first, Donald Trump chose Saudi Arabia for his first presidential visit overseas. It was a controversial choice given Saudi Arabia’s record of
9/11 militants as well as human rights and especially women’s rights.
But now, as America struggles with how women should be treated and heard, serious reforms of women’s rights are under way in Saudi Arabia.
Just three months ago, for the very first time, women were permitted to drive there. They were permitted to attend sporting events and even go to
the movies. Because for the very first time in 35 years, movie theaters were opened again.
As Saudi Arabia’s first woman film maker Haifaa al-Mansour helped usher in this new era. In 2012, she directed the first Oscar-nominated film,
“Wadjda.” About a young girl who enters a competition to win money for a bicycle that she is forbidden to ride.
She’s out now with a new film on Netflix called “Nappily Ever After” and she’s working on “The Perfect Candidate,” a drama about a doctor who
battles through her male-dominated society to run in municipal elections.
When I spoke with her here in New York, I asked her about breaking new ground at home and around the world.
Haifaa al-Mansour, welcome to program.
HAIFAA AL-MANSOUR, SAUDI ARABIAN FILM DIRECTOR: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: You are an exotic species. You are the first Saudi film director and you also happen to be a woman. That’s a lot of boundaries to
break. How easy was it for you to get here?
AL-MANSOUR: Well, a lot of people think it’s a brave and whatever. But I always say I’m more crazy than brave. And really, I never thought like I
would be the first Saudi female film maker. It wasn’t even in my mind.
What I wanted to do is just like to have a hobby or just like exist. And so, it was hard for me after I finished college and started working in
Saudi Arabia, I felt so invisible. And it is — this is the way the culture is and I just wanted to have a place to vent and have my voice and
be heard. And film was the thing that gave me that.
AMANPOUR: And yet, to be fair when you were growing up, I mean, there was no Saudi cinema, you couldn’t go out to the movies. Your first film was
called “Wajda” and about a little girl who wanted to buy a bicycle, that’s basically what she wanted.
I want to know how much of that did you draw from your own life. In other words, as a girl there, were you allowed to go out into the street, ride a
bike, do all the kinds of things that, you know, we think are normal for kids?
AL-MANSOUR: Well, the — I grew up in a small town in Saudi Arabia, and my parents come from very small towns, but I had very had very liberal
parents. They didn’t speak English or anything but they were just kind. I never felt like there’s something I can’t do and my brothers can.
I had this normal, semi-normal upbringing. I felt it’s very important to make a film about mobility and about freedom and that culture. But still,
I wanted to make an intimate film. And I don’t like to like be confrontational in that culture.
I feel it is very important to touch people and make a story that is sweet and hopefully, it changes their hearts. And I feel change needs to come
from the heart and needs to come slowly and creeps in. So, that is why I wanted — that is hence the girl on the bike.
AMANPOUR: We’re going to play a little clip where she goes into the shop and she’s trying to warn the shop keeper to make sure she’s the one who
eventually gets the bicycle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
It’s really poignant and it’s a kind of parable that a lot of people can identify with and understand — try to understand the circumstances in
As a female director, or as a director, as a film director in a country that didn’t have any films or cinemas, how were you able to shoot the
scenes? I mean outside? How did you manage to get it done?
AL-MANSOUR: Well, yes, we have TV. We have a little bit of TV. So, we had some kind of infrastructure. We had to bring a lot of like the head of
the departments from Germany, it was a German-Saudi co-production.
But as shooting in the streets for a woman is a little problematic at the time. It’s changed a lot now. But it is segregated — it was a segregated
country to a high degree. So, I wasn’t able to go in the streets and be with the crew and I had to be in a van and —
AMANPOUR: So, you had to roll it, cut, action —
AMANPOUR: — all of that from walkie-talkies?
AL-MANSOUR: From walkie-talkies and a monitor. Which is frustrating for me. As a director, I wanted to be with them and like be where the actors
and all. But I think the situation change a lot and I’m going back to Saudi to shoot a film called “The Perfect Candidate.”
AMANPOUR: That’s really interesting because from what I read about it, it’s another sort of ground-breaking element of Saudi culture where women
can, I believe, run for very local offices. Is that correct?
AMANPOUR: They’re allowed to now.
AL-MANSOUR: Yes, they are.
AMANPOUR: And why do you want to do that film?
AL-MANSOUR: I felt it is important to encourage women to take positions in public. And I think I — a lot of women in Saudi Arabia and in the Middle
East in general are very shy to be under the spotlight. Because we are taught since we are little it’s better to stay at home and the role of a
woman is to be like a mother and that is the ultimate kind of like whatever position in life.
And I felt like it is important to change that message a little bit and encourage women to take more — to be a little more out there and put
themselves out there. It is hard to put yourself and go and explain your point to — view to the world. But I think it is important as we move on
and progress as a culture.
So, but I don’t expect to be in the van.
AMANPOUR: You expect to be outside, on the street, directing like any self-respecting film director. Fast forward to right now and you’re about
to debut a new series, a new film on Netflix called “Nappily Ever After.”
AMANPOUR: And I rea that it’s a romantic comedy about race and hair of all things.
AL-MANSOUR: Yes. It’s an amazing film. I really had a great time shooting “Nappily Ever After.” And it was about a woman who falls in love
with herself and learns how to self-accept her hair and her — who she is.
And I think it is a very important message for a woman, because we’re all like not — like beauty standards are not universal. And a lot — and we
need to agree on that. And —
AMANPOUR: What’s the particular beauty standard of this community? Because you’re talking about Violet who is the protagonist, African-
AMANPOUR: And clearly, we understand that she has curly hair.
AMANPOUR: So what is the problem?
AL-MANSOUR: I think she learned from an early age that she needs to straighten her hair to fit in. She needs to not to accept to the natural
state of her hair because fashion late. And it is a fact. even in Saudi Arabia, I learned how to blow dry my hair since I was 10 years old and I
was very professional. I will do it for everybody in the house.
AMANPOUR: So, Violet, of course, has a major confrontation with her mother who is constantly —
AMANPOUR: — trying to get her to straighten her hair. And throughout her childhood, she can’t go in the swimming pool because that will frizz her
hair again. And there’s one particularly poignant clip which is about her sort of (INAUDIBLE), if you like, her plea to her mother. We’re going to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANAA LATHAN, ACTRESS: Are you okay with that, for me to just go out there any which way?
LYNN WHITFIELD, ACTRESS: What is your point?
LATHAN: When I was 10 we went to some company picnic for dad at some park and I jumped into the pool, do you remember that? My hair turned to little
fist and all the kids were laughing at me. You yanked me out of the pool, shoved me into the car and we left.
LATHAN: I wonder who I would be if you had just hugged me and told me I was still beautiful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, you obviously deliberately have Violet say those last words, “Who would I have been, mom, if you would have loved me and told me
I was beautiful and hugged me?” Tell me about that.
AL-MANSOUR: Exactly what I was saying, it is like about teaching kids to love themselves. And I — it is when we are a child, we should have the —
especially girls, have the moment to enjoy yourself. It is not about like image, it is not like looking perfect. As much as like go get dirty, play
in the streets and have fun and build a character.
And then, if you tell girls all the time that is you need to brush your hair, you need to look perfect, you need to sit in a certain way, you need
to be in a certain way, I feel affects their self-esteem. It is not like – – boys don’t care, they go there and just like they — and that is who they are because they’ve never been subjected to the similar like rules while
So, yes, I want my daughter not to worry about her frizzy hair and just jump in the pool and do gymnastics and do every kind of a sport and just
like be who she is without really worrying how the world will perceive how she looks because people are looking into her soul not into her like her
AMANPOUR: The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has famously lifted the ban on driving, lifted the ban on cinemas —
AMANPOUR: — so you can you go to see films, music in Saudi Arabia. How much of a change will this bring to Saudi Arabia?
AL-MANSOUR: I think it will bring a lot of change and I think those changes are amazing, because they are at fundamental. Maybe people say it
is like, “Well, we have concerts, it doesn’t mean much,” but it means a lot to bring in music, to bring art into our culture. That means you are
changing its heart.
And Saudi Arabia, for so long, we didn’t have — we didn’t appreciate art. Art was so much excluded from the public space and that is why we didn’t
have cinema, we didn’t music concerts and people were dry and militant.
There wasn’t like — entertainment was not part of who we are, and that is not healthy and creates a very like angry situation, and you don’t want
that in a society, you don’t want that in a culture. And that is amazing to have music now, to go to Saudi Arabia and have like concerts in the
streets, to see young people just enjoying life.
It is — and Saudi Arabia is very important when it comes to the Muslim world and how people approach their religion and approach their practices.
And once Saudi Arabia celebrates arts and cinema and — that will definitely find its way in different neighborhoods and neighboring
countries. And hopefully, we see more peaceful nations around us.
AMANPOUR: I was fascinated to read because you said your mother was — you know, they were quite liberal relative to the rest of Saudi Arabia and even
though you were living I a pretty conservative village or town. And yet, your mother didn’t believe in covering her face and she wore quite a sheer
AMANPOUR: It wasn’t one of those dark sort of, you know —
AL-MANSOUR: Yes. My mother will never like wear the militant — like, you know, the full cover and the thing. She would wear it the same way she
grew up wearing it. It’s very beautiful. Like a sheer and like a really light abaya. And she wouldn’t care how people will perceive her, like she
And I was — as a kid, of course, schools in Saudi was like very strict. And when my mom comes like that and she would put perfume and just like
some like, you now, as a — she’s like a star. And yes, I was really embarrassed and I felt — not embarrassed.
As a kid, it’s like you want to fit in and you just want to be like everybody else and, of course, the teachers wouldn’t like it and they take
it on me. It is like — yes. It’s about defiance and that is what I learned from her. It is not about — maintaining who you are and being
true to your identity is very important and that is something I really learned how to appreciate earlier.
AMANPOUR: So, that’s really interesting. You learned defiance from your mother. I’m fascinated because I think some of your relatives, your female
relatives were caught up in the first major female driving protest, which was during the Gulf war, it was in 1990.
AMANPOUR: And I think — tell me about that. I think some of them were arrested and swept up in the crackdown.
AL-MANSOUR: I feel it is very important for women if they want real change is to believe in themselves and work really hard. And things will not
change overnight for — and it is — I’m saying it even here in Hollywood, where female film makers sometimes feel like they are not represented
enough, they don’t get enough opportunities or equal pay, which is really frustrating for educated, people who feel like they are on equal grounds
and still don’t get the same opportunities and the same — similar like, you know —
AMANPOUR: Roles (ph).
AL-MANSOUR: They are not appreciated in the same way. And it is — it’s going to change but this needs hard work and we need to believe in
ourselves and we need not to be aggressive or angry but assertive and keep on walking slowly and towards a goal.
AMANPOUR: So, how did you get exposed to film? When you —
AL-MANSOUR: As a kid?
AMANPOUR: Yes, as a kid. I read that you are eight of 12 kids.
AL-MANSOUR: We saw a lot of films through video stores. We have like video stores in every neighborhood. So, we would go. But they wouldn’t
allow women at the time because it’s just an immoral place where cinema and art is — but my father would go and —
AMANPOUR: So, a video store was considered immoral?
AL-MANSOUR: It used to be.
AMANPOUR: Yes. No, I mean then, when were you growing up?
AL-MANSOUR: Yes. And then — yes, and my father would go and get us like movies and just like — because we were just — like to keep us busy and to
keep us quiet so he can drink a cup of coffee and maybe read the newspaper.
But yes, it was amazing as a kid to see the world through cinema and to feel you are part of a bigger world. When you’re in a small town, it is
very boring, let alone a small town in Saudi Arabia. So, watching movies was like a bridge that my sibling and I have formed with the rest of the
We felt we are part of like Colorado, seeing those mountains and all that. And what’s really touching when we were kids, like to be in that place and
watch a lot of films.
AMANPOUR: You obviously know that there’s a lot of backlash against women in Saudi Arabia even as the driving ban was being lifted, Saudi female
activists were being arrested. You know that there’s a big controversy over the patriarchy and the guardianship law that women in Saudi Arabia
have to have the permission of a man to do just about anything and the whole human rights situation.
You say that you want to show the world and life there unfolding but in a gentler and slow way. Do you think you’ll ever be able to get to the heart
of these kinds of much more controversial and difficult issues to broach in your country?
AL-MANSOUR: Yes, I think I could. I think it is very important to the way you approach things. And it is very important to understand that a change
is not like it needs to come slow because it needs to come slow.
It is because a change needs to be real and genuine. And changing traditions and how people think is not like you cannot impose it on them
overnight. It has to be — people have to believe it’s coming from themselves and have to be something that it is part of their culture.
So, it has to come I within the culture and that is why change has to take its course, its due course. But I think women are — in Saudi Arabia, have
a lot — achieved a lot. And I think, yes, it’s very — like it is very frustrating for me when I travel I have to have permission from my father
or my husband. And it is — and I really hope that will change.
But I think it will change when women put pressure on their brothers and families and within the family they understand that it’s not — it is — as
a culture, we don’t want it. And it is — it needs to come from that small cell from the society and that is how change will happen.
Once people feel it is not part of who we are and it’s not part of their identity, it’s definitely going to go away. So, that is where you need to
reach and that is why you need to make films and show them movies and have art and music. And hopefully, that will — little slowly people will
understand what it means to have — to give women more space.
AMANPOUR: Haifaa al-Mansour, thank you very much indeed.
AL-MANSOUR: Oh, thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, the struggle over how women are heard continues to play out now in America, with the question of whether a woman who accuses a high-
profile Supreme Court nominee of sexual misconduct will have her say in public.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has been given until tomorrow to decide whether she’ll testify before the Senate or else the Senate says, it will move to
vote on Brett Kavanaugh, who categorically denies all her allegations.
So far, President Trump is sort of staying on the sidelines. He’s not blasting forward but he’s calling the treatment of Kavanaugh unfair.
In this turbulent moment, defined by an apparent vacuum of leadership across all branches of government, Doris Kearns Goodwin, leader of
America’s distinguished pack of presidential historians brings us a timely reminder of the great test faced by previous presidents.
Her new book “Leadership in Turbulent Times” is a vivid account of how four presidents, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and
Lyndon Johnson each overcame staggering crisis of their own.
And Doris Kearns Goodwin, welcome to the program.
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I am very glad to be with you.
AMANPOUR: It’s great to see you because this book couldn’t come at a more timely time. So, am I right, is there a vacuum of leadership or is this
just leadership by other means?
GOODWIN: I do think it’s an absence genuine leadership. If you define leadership as being marked by humility, empathy, resilience through loss,
self-reflection, self-deprecation, the ability to communicate with people and move them forward and unify the country, we’re not seeing any of those
And not only in the presidency, but even in the Congress. I mean, there’s a vacuum of leadership on all sides, it seems, of our government right now.
AMANPOUR: I’m really interested in hearing you put all those qualities into a bag. Some of them, you know, are new to me, those — the way you
So, what would you say is the crisis facing us right now? Let’s just take Brett Kavanaugh and the hearings. Who and what should be taking the lead?
How do you think, given this new information, true or false, how should it be managed through the process?
GOODWIN: Well, I think the most important thing for the senators to feel their power to advise and consent is one of the biggest powers that they
have. And if they can’t be trusted to make that decision right, if they’re not going to have a hearing that works itself out on a fair and neutral
basis, you already — only 11 percent of the people approve the Congress, what’s going to happen if they put a person on the Supreme Court and then
people don’t feel that person was put on the right way then you lose trust in presidency, the Supreme Court and the Congress. Our whole check and
So, I think it’s incumbent on them to remember, this is great to be a senator, it’s more important than being a party member, it’s more important
than other things we define themselves out and they have to have some integrity about their institution, hopefully make the process, it hasn’t
been good so far, change that process.
AMANPOUR: So, two branches of the government, the executive and legislative, have fixed terms. The other, the Supreme Court, is an
appointment for life and can govern culture, politics, society for decades.
AMANPOUR: So, to that end, clearly you understand, I guess, why President Trump and his allies in Congress absolutely want this particular nominee to
be elected and potentially shift the balance of power in the Supreme Court.
I just want to play a sound bite from President Trump and it’s all about the Federalist Society, which is an ultraconservative judicial advocacy
group and it really goes to the heart of how he was nominated, to take the candidacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Now, it’s getting criticized. But what happens if he appoints judges that we don’t like. So, I went to the
Federalist Society, which is sort of the gold standard. So, I went out and I said, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to pick 10 judges or 11
judges and we’ll see what happens.” And I picked 11, gotten from the Federalist Society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, you’ve examined all these presidents. And it appears that the Federalist Society is pushing back against what they view as laws that
have become too liberal. Starting with one of your subjects, FDR and the new deal and then going on to another subject, Lyndon Johnson and civil
GOODWIN: What’s worrisome when he just said — they’re asking him, what happen if he appoints a person that we don’t like, it should be that
president’s decision of who is the most fit person at that time given the problems of the country.
When Lincoln had a vacancy for a Supreme Court in 1864, he appointed Salmon Chase who had been really a rival to him even in the presidency. He wanted
to take over the presidency from him. And he had said mean things about him and his friend said, “How could you appoint Chase to this position?”
He said, “He’ the right man for the job, he was an abolitionist, he will deal with the rights of the freed slaves better than anybody else. It
doesn’t matter what he thinks about me, I think about him,” and he became a great Supreme Court justice. That’s the way you should be appointing one,
not a group outside who says, “This is the ideology that you have to attend to.”
AMANPOUR: Which is clearly what happened in this case.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it’s the first time this kind of condition or it was presented to a presidential candidate.
But, how abnormal is this given what you have been writing about in this particular book and in the past? Didn’t FDR himself discuss expanding the
number of judges that he could pack the court with to get the new deal through? I mean, presidents have wanted to have tons of Supreme Court
justices up there.
GOODWIN: A matter of fact they can at some point. You know, it’s not a fixed number, the nine number. There could be12 and there could be six.
But I think FDR made a terrible mistake in the sense that he wanted to preserve this — the new deal, and that’s understandable. They were taking
down the most important part of those decisions.
But then what he did was he didn’t prepare the Congress’s ground for it, he didn’t — his normal thing would be to communicate to the country and tell
them why we have to do this. Instead, he had this kind of clever thing. When they turn 70, then they’re going to retire and it happened to
conservative judges who are 70. And it back-fired, he never got the plan undone.
AMANPOUR: You talked about leaders and the different eras. And many people are asking now, do we get the leaders for our time or does the time
— you know, or is it backwards? Is it inevitable that at that time, Teddy Roosevelt came to power, Franklin Roosevelt, you know Lyndon Johnson, and
today, Donald Trump?
GOODWIN: I think what happens is the time creates an opportunity for a great leader to come along. And usually, crisis is one. Think about what
Lincoln had to face when he comes into office and this country is already split apart, nearly 600,000 people are soon to die and yet he was the right
leader for that time. Patient and persistent, merciful and merciless, and somebody who could bring into his tent the people who are more experienced
Teddy Roosevelt comes about at a time when the industrial revolution has shaken up the economy more than today, when there’s a gap between the rich
and the poor, the workers or capitalists are at each other’s throats. There’s a fear that capitalism isn’t going to be able to exist. And what
does he do? He introduces square deal. He’s a fighting character. He makes people feel he’s on their side. But the square deal was for the rich
and the poor. And the capitalist and the wage worker, not for one side.
FDR comes in at the height of the depression. And because he had gone through his own depression, his own paralysis because of polio, he had
emerged more warm-hearted, much more able to empathize with other people to whom faith had been dealt an unkind hand and he had that confident optimism
that he could project onto the country at large.
LBJ comes in when the civil rights movement is one of the most important issues at the time. The bill is stuck in the Congress, they never through
it would come out. The civil rights movement is becoming more beset by troubles. And his legislative wizardry gets that bill through.
So, they opened an opportunity for these people, but unless you can deal with it. Hoover was there when the depression was there, he couldn’t deal
with it. McKinley was there at the industrial revolution. And Buchanan, the worst president in our history until the most recent historians’ poll –
– put Mr. Trump on the bottom, he was unable to deal with the secession that was happening during the 1850s.
AMANPOUR: And yet, Mr. Trump comes along with many certainly of traditional White workers are — and it does seem to be mostly them, are
very concerned about, not only their place in American society, but also their place in the workplace. The decline of America’s role as the sole
GOODWIN: You know, I think the workers and the people who voted for Mr. Trump fail to sense that America was passing them by, much as people felt
at the turn of the 20th century when the industrial revolution had changed so much of the economy and the society. Even then, there were all these
new inventions that made the pace of life too big, telephones, telegraphs, et cetera.
And now, suddenly, this is what people were feeling before this election and he seemed to make them feel he was on their side, that somehow, he was
angry as they were at the elites, he was as angry as they were at the plants being taken away.
And the problem is, that’s fine for campaigning, and you have to give him credit. He won the election because of that. But once you become
president, you have to be a president of all the people, you have to reach out to all sides.
When Teddy Roosevelt became president, he took a train, whistle stop train, every fall and spring to all the states where he had lost as well as he had
won. That’s a much different thing than stoking your base and only going to the people who already want you and making them feel even angrier. So,
that’s — you don’t make that transition. In so many ways he hasn’t.
I mean, Lincoln never spoke extemporaneously when he was president. Great speaker. He could do anything. Somebody said to him in the middle of a
debate, “Lincoln, you’re two-faced.” And he certified, “Two faces? Do you think I would be wearing this face?” So, he could have spoken
extemporaneously anything he wanted but he said, “Once I’m president, I have to be prepared. So, I’m not going to say anything.” Words matter,
I mean, these presidents who — well, these great presidents, the reason was when they said something people believed their word. And now, we’ve
got alternative facts, we’ve got people that are lying, we’ve got people who don’t trust anything in any of our institutions at the lowest level and
that’s what a leader has to do, that’s the most valuable thing they have is the value of their word.
AMANPOUR: Let’s talk about style of leadership. President Trump, and you said it to Bob Woodward, about “Fear.” In fact, I’m just going to read you
that because it leads into this. Speaking to Bob Woodward in 2016. He says, “Real power is through respect. Real power, I don’t want to use the
word — fear.” And of course, that is the title of Bob Woodward’s book.
And we’ve seen how President Trump goes to the mat on his negotiating style, whether it is with CEOs, whether it’s members of different political
parties or Congress, whether it’s other world leaders. But we also saw Lyndon Johnson get in the face. I mean, there’s a famous still of him with
Senator Russell. And he gets in their face. Look at that picture. I mean, it’s pretty aggressive. I’m sure some of them were quite afraid of
him. So, there’s a similarity there.
GOODWIN: Well, I don’t know. I mean, real power may be fear but leadership is something different than fear. It has to be a combination of
fear and something that’s going to be good for you at the same time.
When he was convincing Dirksen, Lyndon Johnson, to get the Republicans to go along with him on the civil rights bill to break the filibuster, yes, he
would stand at his face. I’m sure they would be drinking his arms (INAUDIBLE). But at the same time, he is saying, “Dirksen, you bring
Republicans with me to get this bill passed and 200 years from now, school children will know only two names, Abraham Lincoln Everett Dirksen.”
So, he was able to mix charm and fear, good things and bad things. That’s a very different thing. Leadership cannot be just one side. One of the
quotes that President Trump has made is that, “The good deals that deal with both sides, those are not the kind of deals I like.” And then, he
said, “Actually, that’s crap.” “The good deal has to be,” he said, “when I win. When I crush my opponents.”
The whole idea of being a leader is to make deals –
GOODWIN: One of the quotes that President Trump has made is that “Good deals that deal with both sides, those are not the kind of deals
I like.” And then he said, “Actually that’s crap.” “The good deal has to be”, he said, “when I win, when I crush my opponents.” The whole idea of
being a leader is to make deals that make both sides happy. So that’s different. I would say leadership is different from power exercised
AMANPOUR: And I must have misspoken, I said that was Richard Russel but it was Everett Dirksen.
GOODWIN: Oh, I was talking about Dirksen. I didn’t see the film. It might have been Richard Russel.
AMANPOUR: OK. That was Richard.
GOODWIN: Don’t worry.
AMANPOUR: OK. No worries.
GOODWIN: If he is bald, then you’ll know.
AMANPOUR: OK, I get the point. But here’s the other thing, you said that leadership, maybe campaigning is about playing to the base but leadership
is about enveloping every member of the nation. And I’m going to play a really lovely piece of interview from Lyndon Johnson about how he learned
that and it was even before he became president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDON JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I often walked home late in the afternoon after the classes were finished, wishing there was
more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew. Hoping that it might help them against the hardships that lay ahead.
And somehow, you never forget what poverty and hatred can do, when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.
I never thought then in 1928 that I would be standing here in 1965. It never even occurred to me in my fondest dreams that I might have the chance
to help the sons and daughters of those students. And to help people like them all over this country but now I do have that chance. And I’ll let you
in on a secret. I mean to use it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So he’s telling that story in a speech to Congress, trying to get the Voting Right Act passed. It is profound.
GOODWIN: What’s so important about that is that was a moment when he was a young teacher. He had taken off a year from college. He taught these
Mexican-American kids. And his empathy was awakened through that experience and he never forgot it. And to be able to say so many years
later, in calling for the Voting Rights Act that, “I have power now and I want to use it for this kind of thing.” That’s what you want in a leader.
That’s when his personal ambition gets transformed into something larger, an ambition for something great.
That Katula experience and the Voting Rights Act, those are my favorite things. Especially when he says, “I have power and I’m going to use it.”
Similarly, when he first came into office after JFK was assassinated and they were advising him, “Don’t go for the Civil Rights Bill”, the first
bill and desegregation in the south, “You’ll lose the election because it will get stuck in Congress.” So he says, “What the hell is the presidency
for?” and he risked it for that.
AMANPOUR: You know it’s very moving actually because I know that you worked for LBJ and so did your husband. That’s, in fact, where you met.
And just as we were listening to that, you whispered to me that your husband had written that speech.
GOODWIN: And the interesting thing is he had only a day to write that speech because the Selma demonstrations had taken place and Jonathan
suddenly decided he wanted to make a speech with joint session of Congress. And the only time President Johnson bothered him that day, because he knew
you have to leave a writer alone, was to call him up and say, “I want you to tell the experience I’ve talked to you about, about Katula.”
So I mean these are moments when Johnson had been a man who was just pursuing power for much of his life. And then as majority leader had the
most power than anybody in the Congress. He had a massive heart attack. And after that heart attack, he came out of his depression and he said to
himself, “If I were to die now, what would I be remember for?” And then he went for civil rights in the Senate and he went for civil rights in the
And as president, when I was with him on the ranch in those last sad days, when he knew his legacy had been cut in two by the war in Vietnam, he said,
“Well, perhaps if ever I’m to be remembered, it will be for civil rights.” So it’s great we can do this today. He deserves that.
AMANPOUR: And we saw that lovely picture of your husband in the oval office with him. And it is great to remember that. But you do bring up
something important as well. The fact that Lyndon Johnson suffered as you just said from a depression after that moment. Lincoln, I believe had
manic depression, you wrote about. And I just want to ask you, then what makes all of this so abnormal? Because people have obviously brought up
whether President Trump is fit for office for all sorts of reasons but others had issues as well.
GOODWIN: I think the difference is that all of the other guys, in fact, all of my guys as I call them sometimes because I’ve lived with them for
them so long. Lincoln almost had a suicidal depression. I took all knives and scissors and razors from his room. But he came out of it because he
said to himself, “I don’t really want to live now, but I’ve not yet done anything to make any human being remember that I have lived.” So he kept
going until he could make that difference in the world.
Teddy Roosevelt lost his wife and mother on the same day in the same house. He went to the badlands, retreated to a depression, but came
out of it and became a much larger leader from west and east than he would have been. FDR’s polio set him into a depression but as I said, he became
a larger leader. I think the real difference is to learn through loss, can you get wisdom through it.
And the difference with President Trump is he had said the reason he has the very very best temperament, anyone who’s ever run for the presidency,
is because he’s never, never lost, because he always wins. And that’s the only way you grow. All of us grow through our mistakes, we grow through
learning. Lincoln like to say, “I’m smarter today than I was yesterday because of what I’ve learned.” But unless you can reflect on your losses,
unless you can absorb them and then become stronger as a result, then you just stay static.
AMANPOUR: I mean clearly President Trump in the back of his mind or in the front of his mind respects Abraham Lincoln. He’s constantly comparing
himself to him, whether it’s crowd sizes or whether his speeches were well written about. Like the Gettysburg address was the last famous thing he
said. Even Lincoln’s Gettysburg address was castigated by the (INAUDIBLE) not true. But he obviously does have — I mean he knows that Lincoln was a
GOODWIN: Right. I remember one time he was giving a speech during the campaign and he was telling the people, “Do you remember that he was a
Republican? He’s one of us.” And it’s wonderful to have heroes and I wish all of my guys could come back and talk to him. There’s so many lessons
they could teach him.
And that’s one of the sad things, even about President Obama and his relationship. You can learn from the people who went before. It’s a very
exclusive club. Not very many people have been president, you’ve got 45 of them. Why not look back on them and get advice from them rather than feel
like you have to best them. Although sometimes I think when they all get in there, they start thinking of the history books and where am I going to
be and how am I going to be connected to those. That’s crazy. You just have to do the best job you can and let history take care of itself.
AMANPOUR: And you just said, all of them want to do something that history will remember them.
GOODWIN: All the good ones. That’s the good ones. Yes, I think that is the thing because that is the transference. Instead of just getting power
for myself, you really begin to feel the fulfillment. Like Johnson did when he got that Civil Rights Bill through, he didn’t want to stop them.
He wanted education. He wanted Medicare, PBS, NPR, immigration reform, housing reform.
Once you get that feeling I’ve done something that has changed people’s lives, that’s what you should be going into politics for. That’s what
leaders should be having. And when you have that, it’s the best.
AMANPOUR: And instead, I mean you can’t help but realize and feel sad that those great steps that Johnson took, civil rights and the voting rights and
all of that., there’s been such a continuous backlash against all of that. At his height during President Obama, I mean the idea that a black man was
president of the United States, really riled a lot of Americans. And today, you’ve got this dreadful resurgence of racism.
GOODWIN: Yes. I know we thought we had come to a platform it seems to me in these last 10 years in terms of gay rights, in terms of women’s rights,
in terms of black/white relationships and it shows how fragile in some ways the country can be at times. You have to keep fighting the same fight over
and over again. But it just means we have to awaken the activism of people who want this country to be that country that was built on those equal
And that’s the exciting thing about seeing a lot of women running for office today, seeing a lot of new people coming, and the energy of people.
They have to realize you can’t sit back now. It’s a very activist time if you got to protect all these things that happened in the last 50 years that
are in danger of being taken away.
AMANPOUR: And how a president, how any leader communicate is nearly 99 percent of their success or failure. You’ve written about how Lincoln did,
how he would write the angry letter and then maybe not send it. We know from your book that Lyndon Johnson was very much a communicator to the
extent that he had the switchboard buttons on the float in a pool when he was taking a swim.
And we obviously know that President Trump has his iPhone or whatever it is right next to him and tweets a lot and has used that communication method
to unparalleled success for him.
GOODWIN: Well, for him, but not for unifying the country. I mean when I think of communication, there’s no one that I think was better at it in his
time than FDR. He was able to use the radio to make people feel that he had a direct intimate conversation with him. There’s a story of a
construction worker who was hurrying home one night. And his partner said, “Where are you going?” He said, “My president, he is coming to be in my
living room tonight to talk to me. I have to be there when he’s there.”
Even that first inaugural that he gave, when he told people that we will get through this and the only thing to fear is fear itself, suddenly
thousands of letters come in, “We’re OK now. You’re in there. We trust your word.” And people trusted Lincoln’s word when he went to communicate
to the soldiers and told them that we were doing this emancipation proclamation. Only 3 out of 10 Union soldiers at the beginning were
fighting for slavery. They wanted to just fight for the union, not to end slavery. After he communicated with them and they believed his word, they
shifted their mind.
That’s what communication does. Not just a nice speech. It’s words that create action and make people mobilize to do something. And all these guys
use the technology of their time. Lincoln, the written word. It would be published in the newspapers. You would read the whole speech and you could
read it out loud. Teddy comes with those punchy phrases or in phrase with the new newspaper age. FDR has the radio and JFK and Reagan had
television. It’s much more complicated now. Trump mastered this little narrow world but narrow world is not unifying our country.
AMANPOUR: And I want to end on kind of a sweet tale. Given in this Me Too Movement and given that this whole issue of women’s rights, even on the
Supreme Court level, in a very serious way, may be in question. You write about when you went to see Lyndon Johnson and you were alone and it was
near the lake and there was a checkered tablecloth. And he said to you, “Doris, of all the women I’ve ever known.”
GOODWIN: And my heart sank. I thought, “Oh my God, what’s he about to say?” And then he said, “You remind me of my mother.” Given that I was
thinking of very different things, it was pretty embarrassing. But I must say that experience with him will forever stay with me. It’s what made me
want to study presidential history and I’ll be forever grateful to be 24- years-old in the presence of that character. Now I could ask him so many questions as a historian. But instead, then you waste that time but you
AMANPOUR: Well, it was formative for you and your husband.
GOODWIN: That’s true.
AMANPOUR: Doris Kearns Goodwin, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
GOODWIN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So from historic challenges, to those facing the United States right now, despite the Affordable Care Act, health care in America is still
a privilege that’s inaccessible to so many and that is something my next guest is tirelessly working to change at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital.
Dr. Prabhjot Singh is doing groundbreaking work on community-based healthcare he says is lower costs and raise efficiency.
Now Dr. Singh is, in fact, the guest of our Hari Sreenivasan. And he tells him just how he realized all of that including he talks about the aha
moment that came from being the victim of a hate crime himself. But he began the conversation with a dire warning about the state of American
HARI SREENIVASAN, CORRESPONDENT: What are we seeing today in the United States that most people watching wouldn’t know about?
DR. PRABHJOT SINGH, DIRECTOR ARNHOLD INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL HEALTH: One thing I’ve been alarmed by is watching, for example in South Texas, the
rise of parasitic diseases that come through soil into the feet of kids, hookworm, other sort of parasitic worms, tropical diseases that as a
nation, we eradicated 100 years ago.
We’re starting to see — we’re fighting this overseas where we have USA — we got former President Carter, who has put a huge amount of effort in
eradicating these diseases in West Africa. And right as we’re doing that, we’re watching this rise back here in the U.S. And these are really
diseases of poverty and the lack of basic essential health systems and social support.
Along with that, we’re seeing rises in maternal mortality, moms dying. Particularly African-American mothers. And we’re also seeing in some
groups, for example even in white middle-aged males, drops in life expectancy for the first time in decades in America, due to alcohol,
suicide, opioid use. And as you start to see this picture come up, it’s just a deeper reminder that we have to really rethink how we’re building
our health system.
It isn’t always just about payment and access, it’s actually about how we are designing our relationship in places and how we’re addressing the
challenges that communities are facing as primary issues, not as afterthoughts.
SREENIVASAN: Did you ever think when you were coming up through med school that you probably heard of doctors volunteering their time overseas
somewhere, at an eye clinic that’s mobile some far-off land, that that could be happening here in the United States and in West Virginia and New
SINGH: To be honest, I had no idea. I grew up in Kenya and we came to Michigan when I was young. And if you told me that this was happening in
the United States, I would not have believed you. But as I’ve gone through training and as I’ve seen firsthand now the need for basic health care,
essential health care, which includes basic social needs, it’s been eye- opening, it’s been concerning and it’s also, we have to just level set. That’s where we are.
SREENIVASAN: Give me some examples of lessons that you’re learning from places that are developing countries, that don’t have the healthcare system
infrastructure that we might have, but are actually doing some things better.
SINGH: One thing that’s always amazed me is that if you go to Liberia or Uganda and you got a rural setting where you have a trained
community health worker with a mobile phone, equipped with a diagnostic test from their backpack. They go to a household where there’s a kid, who
has a fever. And all of us who are parents have had a kid who has a fever and we’re wondering, “Should we go to the doctor? Should we wait this
And what they’re able to do is go to the doorstep, go to the house, use that rapid diagnostic test to look for whether it’s an infectious cause,
what type. And they’re actually treating with antibiotics people on the spot and then referring them to the hospital. And what’s amazing is that
this network of community health workers is connected by mobile phones, has their quality assessed on a very regular basis, and is often put on a map
where you can see how all these mobile networks of community health workers are actually working and where they’re working and are they effective and
what’s the quality?
And so you look at these sort of systems and you’re saying why don’t we have things like that here in the U.S.? And in some ways, when you look at
Liberia or Uganda, they have been under so much pressure to create these systems, because they can’t build the big towers, that they have instead
pushed that energy, that innovation, that ingenuity into building these very flat networked community-based mobile systems.
And frankly, I think that they’re better than what we have in a lot of the United States and I hope that we can bring them into our own work, while
we’re still exchanging the advances that we’re making here in the U.S.
SREENIVASAN: There’s also been programs in the United States, the remote access medical reaching out to communities in Appalachia that are totally
underserved. Does that scale up? Do we end up having to maybe invest more in that model?
SINGH: First of all, I’m constantly blown away by remote area medical. I mean this is a group that was started in order to take care of people in
the Amazon and in places like Liberia. And remote area medical now sets up camps, sophisticated camps, but here in Appalachia, in New Mexico, doing
the work that they would have been doing abroad but the demand here is so high for free medical care that they have people that line up, thousands of
people that come to these camps in the middle of America in order to get healthcare.
First of all, I think it says like — it’s amazing that they’re doing that. It’s God’s work and it should be supported. And it says that we’ve got a
huge hole in our healthcare system and there are a lot of them. And people come out by the thousands when they have the opportunity to access high-
SREENIVASAN: How do you make sense of this? How do you reconcile this? I mean here we are, blocks away from us are probably some of the best medical
facilities on the planet. You know, the fanciest gadgets, the smartest people, the most accomplished in their fields, and you’re describing parts
of our country where we are seeing diseases that the developing world has almost beaten and we’re getting them now.
SINGH: I find it staggering. I feel like as a country we’re so blessed and we’re drowning amidst riches. People are, you know, they can see how
advanced this country can be. They can see what the best looks like in this country and yet it’s not getting to where people need it most. And I
think that is a question of organization and design and where we just realize the work is at the front lines in communities where we need to
focus our efforts.
And until we just realize that, all the smart people, all the policymakers, all the inventors, the makers, the designers, as that attention shifts to
where the real challenges are, at the person level, at the community level, we’ll start to see progress. And until we really start to make that mental
shift, we’re going to be holding up our hands and saying, “What’s going on?”
SREENIVASAN: Right now, the system doesn’t allow for a lot of time that a doctor can spend with a patient to ask those, might be peripheral questions
that might lead you to answers that diagnose a problem differently.
SINGH: If you’ve just received a prescription, again for insulin, for instance, something that was invented decades ago but whose prices just
shot through the roof over this last decade. And you say, “Look, I’d like you to take this insulin. I’d like you to eat better and good luck to
you,” which is actually how a lot of the conversations feel on the other side.
What you’re going to be missing is potentially somebody who is ashamed to say that they can’t afford that insulin. Somebody who may say,
“Look, I want to eat better but I don’t know how to do it.” Somebody to say that, “Look, you’re an authority figure, I don’t have any power in this
discussion and I can’t even ask the questions I need to navigate the situation so I’m going to be quiet and just go home.”
When that happens, in the old world health systems still get paid. In the world we’re moving to, hopefully, steadily, is that if they don’t get
healthier, then you know, there’s no payment but I think, more importantly, we are more deeply understanding that like nobody is better for that
SREENIVASAN: When you start to look at some of those peripheral reasons, you’re starting to pick at class, social inequality, race, gender, lots of
other things that we don’t associate with healthcare. So how would a doctor or a nurse or a community health worker be on the front lines, be
able to kind of tackle all of those really significant challenges that put that person where they are today?
SINGH: I think what is becoming very clear is that health care must be an advocate for the challenges people are facing. Let me give you a practical
example. If you’re noticing that you see a lot of African-American young children with asthma, that happened to all cluster in a building of public
housing, and they are coming in very frequently, it’s incumbent upon us as people in public health and healthcare to say, “Why is that happening?
Let’s go upstream to the root of the challenge.”
And as we start to look at these houses, we might find that there’s mold and there’s other issues, and we actually have to be pretty proactive in
saying, “OK. Let’s work with the housing authority to get that done” because no individual may have the power to do that.
SREENIVASAN: If people Google you after this, they’re going to find possibly your Ted talk and then they’ll find articles that you were a
victim of a hate crime in New York City, near where you work and live. And I want to ask, how did being a victim in that circumstance, get you to
rethink or influence how you thought about people who go through the healthcare system, either about their physical health or even their mental
SINGH: Thanks for asking, Hari. So in 2013, I was attacked by about 20 to 30 men in a hate crime in Harlem where my jaw was fractured. And at that
time, I was a professor of international affairs at Columbia and I was thinking about the big picture arena of community health across the world.
And so for me, that event in 2013 actually precipitated a huge shift professionally for me. I said I wanted to move closer to doing work
actually in the communities where I was working or living. And I wanted to focus much more on what’s happening on the front lines in the United
So in short, the incident was I think, it was traumatic and it was also revelatory. One of my favorite writers, Flannery O’Connor says “Grace
changes us and change is painful.” And I look at that incident and I say wow, my eyes were opened up. And I was able to see also where I lived in a
very different light. And professionally, that said, “Oh, I better change what I’m doing.”
And what I hope is that as we have these very tough social questions about race, about gender, equity, about class in America, we in healthcare, have
to realize that hey, we need to engage these questions, it’s going to take a long time but the best way to do that is to actually go with and start to
say, “OK. How do we redesign how we interact?”
SREENIVASAN: Prabhjot Singh, thanks for joining us.
SINGH: Thanks so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: Exposing America’s fault lines there. And to that point, tomorrow, I’ll talk to W. Kamau Bell. He’s the comedian and social critic
who makes it his very serious business to examine America in all its different shades, and how he teamed up with our late colleague Anthony
Bourdain to explore Kenya where Kamau’s own name hails from.
That’s it for our program tonight.
Thanks for watching Amanpour and Company on PBS and join us again tomorrow.