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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Amanpour and Company. Here’s what’s coming up.
Amid the chaos of Brexit, European nationalists may no longer be eyeing their own exit, but they are trying to cause the E.U. to implode from
within. I’m joined by a rising leader of the movement, Italy’ Matteo Salvini, headed to the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIENNA MILLER, ACTRESS, “AMERICAN WOMAN”: I’m 38 years old raising a 7- year-old boy. If you’re looking for a fling or a party girl or someone you can have some fun with, just keep on looking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: From tabloid target to American woman, the actress, Sienna Miller, breaks out in a surge of attention-grabbing new roles.
And turbulent times call for skilled and steady leaders. Our Walter Isaacson speaks with Pulitzer prize-winning historian, Doris Kearns
Welcome to the program, everyone. I’m Christiane Amanpour in London.
While last week’s D-Day anniversary celebrated the best of Europe, the victory of liberal democracy over the dark forces of fascism, it also
reminds us that fascism once thrived in Europe and it first took root not in Germany but in Italy under Il Duce, Benito Mussolini.
Italy is beloved for its art and its lifestyle, its home of pasta, Puccini and St. Peters. But in the post-war roller coaster of rising and falling
governments with more than 60 since World War II, the dark shadow of fascism lingered on, which brings me to my first guest, Matteo Salvini,
Italy’s interior minister and the deputy prime minister and he is also the driving force behind one of the most successful and even sinister far-right
movements in Europe.
While his party, The League, touts’ familiar slogans like, Make Italy Great Again, he, in fact, rose to power by fanning the flames of anti-migrant
On Monday, Salvini brings his Italy first campaign to Washington where he will meet with Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
I have been talking to him about all of that and I spoke to him from Rome.
Mr. Salvini, welcome to the program.
MATTEO SALVINI, DEPUTY ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to ask you, you’re on your way to the United States, you’re a big fan of President Trump, and in fact, your own slogan is, Italy
First. What do you hope to get from this visit? What are you going to discuss with the vice president and the secretary of state?
SALVINI (through translator): Well, first of all, of the documents that have been dealing with as a Ministry of the Interior, so fighting
terrorism, fighting illegal migration, the political situation in Libya, in Iran, in Venezuela, and any partnerships, whether they are economic or not,
between Italy and the U.S.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to focus a little bit on the immigration policy because that’s something that you’re very keen on and you talk about it a
lot and it’s the basis of The League, your party. You have once said that you could fix and cure Italy with President Trump cure. What do you mean
by that, exactly?
SALVINI (through translator): Well, we’re following closely both the approach against illegal migration, as far as the U.S. and Mexico are
concerned, but also the more domestic policies that the Trump administration’s implementing.
In terms of migration, we manage to reduce arrivals by 90 percent with half the casualties, with half the amount of migrants in Italy. And as a
result, crimes have fallen by 10 percent. These are data from 2019. We managed to keep track of our borders, something the previous governments
were not able to do.
AMANPOUR: You know, the whole idea of curbing migration is obviously pretty controversial, both in Italy and in the United States. I wonder
what you think of the Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance program where it was separating children from parents at the border, the southern border,
and do you admire that policy? Is it something that you would consider for Italy? Where do you stand on that?
SALVINI (through translator): Well, first of all, these are completely different realities, different numbers, different people and different
problems. We try as much as possible not to divide families, children by law cannot be sent away from the country. That said, in the last few
years, we have had approximately 700,000 migrants coming by sea.
As of last year, we managed to stop them by 223,000. This year, we managed to whittle it down to 2,000. Many [13:05:00] children and mothers come by
plane. That said, I cannot teach President Trump how to deal with things. I am happy with the way we are dealing with our migration crisis in Italy.
AMANPOUR: Let me just ask you because you have said that what you have done has obviously cut the number of migrants coming to Italy but you also
said it makes it safer. But today, U.N. Refugee Commission says that at least 539 migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean since
And you know, without NGOs and rescue boats, they said it will be a sea of blood. And also, the former Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, once
told me, “We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a cemetery.” Are you concerned about policies that, you know, put people’s lives at risk?
SALVINI (through translator): Look, the numbers say that between 2014 and 2018 when the ports were open, when the Democratic Party was in government,
when we had mass migration, more than 15 people died at sea in Mediterranean, 15,000 according to U.N. statistics.
Still according to U.N. statistics that you were touching upon earlier on, when I took hold of the situation, we’re talking about 1,551 casualties.
So, this is half as opposed to last year, a third as opposed to three years ago and 1/5 as opposed to five years ago. Numbers state that fewer
arrivals also mean fewer casualties.
AMANPOUR: I’m going to come back to this issue because it is the leading issue, certainly, of your party and, you know, across Europe for the last
few years. But first, I want to ask you about the recent elections in Europe for the European parliament. And I want to ask you, since you’re
going to America, what kind of message you have for the president about the European Union.
We know that President Trump is not a big fan of the E.U. He’s often talked about how it’s a good thing that Britain is leaving in the Brexit
situation and how maybe other countries want to leave as well. Where do you stand on that? Do you believe that it’s correct to, I don’t know, get
Italy out of the E.U. or are you more concerned with trying to make the E.U. collapse from within with your nationalist alliance and your, you
know, your like-minded political parties?
SALVINI (through translator): No, we want a stronger European Union. We want 500 million citizens to take back what was a dream. The European
Union was born as a dream. It talks about social welfare, protection of the environment, the right to work, the right to life, subsequent cuts and
austerity measures implemented by banks and various institutions to erase this dream. We don’t want to destroy anything. We want employment to be
the focus, the right to having a family, the right to work, the right to health and so on and so forth.
If people decide to leave the E.U., they’re deciding to do that on a democratic basis. As Italy and as representative of the Italian
government, we do not want to do that. We want to recreate a new Europe, focusing on women, minors and employment. This is what I will be
discussing with my American colleagues as I believe they want a strong partner that will speak with one voice as — also in terms of foreign
policy, something that Europe has not done in the last few years.
AMANPOUR: Let me just ask you about Steve Bannon. He has set up a so- called populist academy in Italy, not far from Rome. I understand that the government, your government, is trying to get him to, you know, to be
evicted. But he says he helps you a lot with strategy and you work together during the recent elections. How much did you work with Steve
SALVINI (through translator): Look, I met him two or three times. They were fairly interesting meetings but I’ve had very similar meetings, many
other thinkers and business people, and representatives of the cultural world, of the artistic world. At the end of the day, I think, by myself.
He has his own vision of Europe and the world.
That said, I listen to everyone but then I decide what to do. If he wants to contribute his thoughts, he’s more than welcome to do so, but my
strength and the strength of my movement is that we listen to many people, many give suggestions. Yet at the end, we’re free to choose with our own
heads. We don’t have any master minds or anything like that.
AMANPOUR: Let me get back to immigration because look, The League has been anti-immigration [13:10:00], anti-migrant since its inception. And you
have recently, you know, last year, created laws that make applying for asylum in Italy much more difficult, abolishing the law of humanitarian
protection. You’ve also called migrants invaders and you say mass migration amounts to ethnic cleansing of Italians.
How do you view, then, Italy in the future? Is it like no more migration? What exactly is your view?
SALVINI (through translator): Well, first of all, I’d like to clarify that we fight illegal migration, seen as in Italy there are 5 million migrants
that have been thoroughly documented, they work, they pay taxes, they send the kids to school. The first Black senator in the history of the Republic
was elected with The League. We have many local administrators coming from South America, Eastern Europe. We have many members, men and women, that
are migrants. They are part of our party and they are asking for stronger measures against illegal migrants.
We want a controlled, limited migration that we can easily manage. And we believe that this is something positive and that we can expect for Italy.
We couldn’t deal with 200,000 people coming every year. Half of them would disappear, the other half would be dealing drugs or steal. So, integration
was completely possible with numbers of that magnitude.
AMANPOUR: But you’ve also introduced a new law that would criminalize sort of charity ships, ships that would go out and save people who are at risk
of drowning in the Mediterranean and that they face a ban of up to 50,000 euros. That’s obviously been criticized by the U.N. and also by your own
president. How does that fit into what you’re telling me?
SALVINI (through translator): No, let me clarify. We are targeting ships that work together with human traffickers. Saving lives is not a right but
a duty for everyone. After that, you need to follow laws. You need to follow international conventions, the orders coming from various ports and
the various forces at sea.
If you’re saving people and you’re close to Tunisia or close to Malta but far from Italy and they tell you that for the safety of these people you
need to go to Tunisia or Malta, but these ships decide to travel twice as long to go to Italy, putting those lives at risk then I’m sorry but I will
seize that ship.
It’s the same for humanitarian permits. Before they were given out without any control whatsoever. Now, they’re only given to true refugees, the ones
that are fleeing war-torn countries. The other ones are here unlawfully and they should not enjoy the same rights that true political refugees
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I just want to clarify. You said you only target ships that deal with human traffickers but then do you call ships like Sea-Watch
and the organization Sea-Watch, which is a German nonprofit organization, and which you have penalized, and it does rescue people whose lives are at
risk, do you call them criminals?
SALVINI (through translator): They do not follow the law. They’ve done it once, twice or even more. They’re still doing it in these hours these
days. They do not save people but they work together with human traffickers.
AMANPOUR: Well, they would deny that, obviously. They say they’re a charity ship. But I want to get back to what you say because I want you to
explain to me why you say migrants are invaders and why you say mass migration amounts to ethnic cleansing of Italians. What exactly do you
mean by that?
SALVINI (through translator): I mean, that there are whole neighborhoods in Italian but also European cities full of migrants. I worked as a
European MP and there’s entire neighborhoods in Brussels that are under the full control of migrants. There are entire neighborhoods in Marseilles, in
Paris where the Sharia law is implemented. The same applies to the outskirts of Milan, Naples, Bologna, Turin and many other Italian cities.
Often, there are more migrants than Italians in these countries.
When these are the numbers that we’re faced with, it’s difficult to integrate. Often you risk imposing laws or ways of living that do not meet
eye to eye the ways we live. In some cultures, women are less important than men. I don’t want my children to grow up with these wrong models.
Let me repeat this. A controlled migration is added value for everyone, whilst an illegal migration, leads to chaos, leads to [13:15:00] many
Italians abandoning these neighborhoods.
AMANPOUR: If I had the Belgian or the French government here, they would deny there was any Sharia law being practiced in their country. But what I
do actually want to ask you is whether you — whether perhaps you’re thinking a little bit along the lines of the Hungarians.
I had the opportunity to interview the Hungarian foreign minister a few months ago and it was very interesting because I asked him, “Is what you’re
saying that you would prefer to have, you know, White Christian migrants in your country?” And this is the answer he gave me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER SZIJJARTO, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We have been a Christian country for a millennium and I don’t really understand why is it bad news
that we don’t want to change that and I don’t understand why is it bad or why is it unacceptable that we would like to stick to our history, to our
culture, to our heritage, to our religion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SALVINI (through translator): This is something that he also said in 2001. Giacomo, the archbishop of bologna, so obviously it’s not someone that is
racist or nationalist or belongs to The League, wrote that it was better to have migration from countries which culturally speaking are closer to ours.
I’m talking in terms of tradition, history, religion and for instance, some Eastern European countries or Latin American countries as opposed to
Islamic countries where they have very different characteristics. This is something that Mr. Biffphy (ph) said together with many other
representatives of the church, and I fully agree with this.
AMANPOUR: I think it’s quite clear where you stand on this. But I want to now talk to you about the environment, because you said that one of the
things you’re going to talk about and one of your visions for the future is also, amongst other things, the environment.
And yet, you don’t have a great, great record yourself on the environment. You voted against the Paris Agreement. The League voted against almost all
of Italy’s key climate change proposals. And your identity and democracy alliance is essentially an alliance of climate change deniers. I wonder
whether you might change your mind on the climate given what the voters said in this recent election where you may have won, you know, 73 seats but
the Green and other alliance won more than that, and voters are using environment as a very, very top concern and a top issue and immigration is
down much lower than that.
Do you — are you — do you insist that, you know, climate change is a hoax?
SALVINI (through translator): Look, I have two sons. Do you think that I want my sons to grow up with polluted air and dirty water? The idea of
climate change deniers is — I’ve never heard before. This is the first time. It’s quite interesting but also funny, I would say. The League
rules two of the biggest regions in Italy, Lombardi and Veneto, and has been doing so for 20 years.
We’ve tried passing laws against the spread of concrete, laws to foster recycling, laws to use waste to produce heat and energy. We’re also
working towards the spreading of electric transport. We’re also trying to do as much as we can to try and replace old boilers to work. So, I care
for the environment. I care for the environment that my children would grow up in.
I do not believe in ideology. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can — you know, you have to close down factories and things have to be
done with measure and caring for the environment is only one of our policies.
We rule the Lombardi region, one of the biggest economies in Europe, and we also do this by taking great care of the environment that we live in. We
foster the creation of less polluting railways, for instance. We promote local produce. So, in terms of environment, I don’t think anyone, whether
in Germany or elsewhere, should teach me what to do.
AMANPOUR: Just another question about what you might say to the Trump administration. You know, you’re going to talk about a whole range of
issues, including regional issues. Italy has been one of the largest importers of Iranian oil. But as you know, the Trump administration has
put on a lot of sanctions trying to reduce all Iranian oil exports and it’s out of the nuclear deal now. What would you say to Vice President Pence
SALVINI (through translator): I will say that I share the concerns that the Trump administration has towards Iran and nuclear power in Iran. This
is a country that believes that they can erase [13:20:00] another country from the face of the earth. I’m obviously referring to Israel. This
cannot be someone that we have a dialogue with.
Italy has also stopped working on economic basis with Iran, also from an energy point of view. I share the conviction that as long as someone in
Iran says that Israel should be erased from the face of the earth, we cannot trade with a country like this.
AMANPOUR: Minister Matteo Salvini, thank you very much for joining me.
SALVINI (through translator): Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And now, we move on to another star but of a more traditional sort, the actress, Sienna Miller. She’s been known as a tabloid target and
a style sensation. But in her new film, “American Woman,” which is in theaters now, she takes out an almost inconceivable new role, a grandmother
living through the nightmare of her own daughter’s disappearance. Here’s a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about Richard’s father?
MILLER: He’s not around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long has that been the case?
MILLER: Since he found out I was pregnant 17 years ago. He never wanted anything to do with us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Deb, would you sit down, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is he? Where is he living now?
MILLER: South Carolina, Florida. Look, you’re wasting your time with him, OK? Tyler Hendrick (ph), this is who you need to be looking at. They got
into an argument last night. He admitted that. He never wanted her to have Jesse in the first place, and he’s been violent with her before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean, he’s been violent?
MILLER: I mean, he’s hit her. More than once.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Miller seems to be a campaign to conquer all media. In the theater, she’s just played the iconic role of Maggie, in Tennessee
Williams, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” And on television, she’s about to turn the tables on the Murdoch empire, playing Elizabeth Tilson, the third wife
of Roger Ailes alongside Russell Crow in the showtime series “The Loudest Voice.”
I asked Miller about her career surge when I spoke with her from New York.
Sienna Miller, welcome to the program.
SIENNA MILLER, ACTRESS: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, your latest film is being really hailed as a breakout film for you and you play a mom, quite a young mother, Deb, whose young daughter
has gone missing and you’re left with her son. Tell me what attracted you about this film. Why did you want to do this?
MILLER: You know, as a script, it was one of the most vivid and clear thing. It was a very easy decision. I read it and I instantly had a
complete vision of how to play this part. And I love the idea of taking something on that felt this epic. I love the idea that she begins as one
woman and really, to her own resilience and perseverance, ends as someone else. It just felt dense and meaty and funny and sad. It sort of had
every ingredient that you could ever want. So, it felt like a real challenge and beautifully written.
AMANPOUR: So, tell me, expand a little bit on that sort of transformation of the character. She starts as one woman and ends as somebody else.
MILLER: You know, she begins — she had a child at 16. So, the movie opens, she’s 32 and she has a 16-year-old daughter who has a 2-year-old
son, as you said. So, it’s a messy situation, there’s no one around to help, she’s done her best but she’s really in her 30s, living the
adolescence that she didn’t have a chance to live because she was raising a daughter. So, she’s very childish.
The relationship between her and her daughter is much more kind of sibling and she’s frivolous and a little bit reckless and maybe hard to love.
She’s frantic. And then this tragedy happens, her daughter goes missing and she’s kind of catapulted into responsibility and tragedy and parenthood
of this grandson, and she takes it on. But it’s just — it’s a rough life. And she, as many women do, rises to the occasion and really triumphs. So,
she kind of emerges at the end as the woman that she had the potential of always being but hadn’t quite managed to get there in spite of all this
AMANPOUR: So, let’s see this clip because it almost is the sort of the tipping point for the transformation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: It’s been — it’s been three days since we last saw Bridget. She left home around 7:00. She was wearing a pink sweatshirt and white
sneakers. She had her hair colored a few days ago, so it’s a little lighter now, little more blonde but not much. This is a mother’s worst
nightmare. To know that your daughter’s out there somewhere and she’s calling for you and you can’t get to her. I’m sorry. I miss my daughter
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it’s very, very raw and it looks to me like you’re also not overly made up, if made up at all. You’re really baring everything
MILLER: Yes. Yes. I mean, in the beginning, she’s quite made up but then after that happens, I think, yes, the last thing she’s thinking about is
how she looks. And she gradually goes on this progression into really relinquishing, I think, any attachment to what she wears and what she looks
like and it’s kind of refreshing to see that.
AMANPOUR: And in terms of your own sort of identifying maybe a little bit with her character, you also have a daughter, Marlowe, and you’re —
AMANPOUR: — very close to her, according to everything I read, and here you are playing a mom who’s lost her daughter. I mean, was it difficult
for you as a mom with a daughter?
MILLER: You know, it really was. That was the one thing that I was very hesitant about doing and I — in the first meeting that I had with the
director, he was such an empath. He was so warm and really it felt collaborative. It felt like he was a parent and he would go on this with
But in the hands of some sort of controlling or narcissistic director, this would have been torturous. And it was, it’s agony to even imagine that.
But as a parent, I think you do and you have done and it’s sort of just below the surface and there is something strange about acting where you
kind of want to explore these things that are maybe demons that exist inside you or just experience of life that is extreme and that’s not
tourism, that’s — you know, it comes from a place of empathy.
But I was definitely hoping many times that it would not happen in this film. I was really daunted before we started shooting because it felt so
dark and awful to even imagine.
AMANPOUR: This film is portraying, you know, sympathetically, a woman who might have been judged harshly in a different encounter or a different
environment, and I think you have been judged harshly in your younger years when you were starting out. I wonder whether you can reflect on, you know,
how women are judged, basically, whether in film or in real life.
MILLER: You know, we think we’re in this moment in time where everything’s changing and it is shifting. But it’s funny, the response to Deb, the sort
of first iteration of her — chapter one Deb in this film by a lot of people has been that she’s really — it’s really hard to love her because
But what they never ask is where is the father of her daughter? Like she raised this child alone, she’s doing her best, she has no money, she has no
support, but no one sort of even asked that question, and we are living in such a gendered era.
I mean, it’s — wow. The world has always been gendered and I feel definitely like I’ve been a victim of that. But as this kind of wave of
change happens, however extreme it is, I feel certainly more empowered to not tolerate that kind of discrimination or judgment.
AMANPOUR: Well, no, but it’s interesting you say that and I’m going to delve into it a little bit but I want to sort of go via the series you’re
doing as well and that, of course, is called “The Loudest Voice.” It’s on Showtime. And you play Roger Ailes’ third and final wife, Elizabeth
So, of course, as we know, Roger Ailes was the power behind the throne, the big, big voice at Fox News. He had come from NBC and your character was a
producer at NBC. And I want to play this little clip from one of the episodes and then let’s talk about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSELL CROWE, ACTOR, “THE LOUDEST VOICE”: Why don’t you come over and work for Fox, get off that sinking ship?
MILLER: You know, since you left, I’ve been really running things, like, running the transition to MSNBC, I’m in charge.
CROWE: Well, you know, that’s probably only for a few months.
MILLER: But you know, it could lead to something else. It’s a great opportunity. You know that. And I don’t want to be too dependent on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What do you think of Elizabeth Tilson and sticking by Roger Ailes even after all of the allegations came out? I mean, he’s no longer
alive, but he was censured quite heavily. He was — you know, had to leave his job because of the allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. What do
you think of your character? Should she have stuck by him?
MILLER: It’s so hard without knowing the intricacies of a dynamic of a family to really comment and I’m not being careful. I mean, I genuinely
feel that way. I think she absolutely was devoted to her husband and I think she’s very religious and believed in matrimony. And would I have
tolerated that? I don’t think I would have done but I don’t think these things are as black as white as we hope they’d be.
[13:30:00] She was Roger Ailes’s wife and she was devoted to that and still is devoted to him.
AMANPOUR: OK. So now there’s another little bit that’s obvious from that clip as well and that is the power dynamic.
You know, she sort of said, I don’t want to be overly dependent on you. He wanted to lure her over into his own orbit.
You know, it’s pretty much a real-life issue, powerful men, younger women.
MILLER: Yes, absolutely. It’s sad. It’s sad to see and I hope that it shifts.
I think that was in the 90s. She probably didn’t feel like she had as much of a voice. And when she weighed it up, she looked at where Roger was
going and felt like she could probably be a machine behind the cause and he had the infrastructure and the power and the ability to go extremely far,
which he did.
And I’m sure without the support of her, he wouldn’t have been able to manage in the way that he did. But you know, of course, it’s sad to see
that kind of ultimatum being given to a woman who has her own career and is successful in it.
AMANPOUR: It’s also hard to read all and remember everything that happened to you and the harassment you faced in your younger years and as you were
starting out from the Rupert Murdoch Empire. Mostly the newspapers here in the United Kingdom, the paparazzi, and all the rest of it.
The famous hacking scandal, the Leveson inquiry, and all the rest, you were a target of all of that. How does it feel to be portraying a key character
inside this empire, given what a target you were of their behavior?
MILLER: You know it’s — it feels fascinating to be in scenes with Rupert Murdoch who was obviously somebody I was incredibly litigious against. But
more importantly it felt — when you take on work, it’s either because it’s an incredible role, which I felt about “American Woman,” or it’s a
fascinating story that feels prevalent and relevant.
And I don’t think there’s anything really — well, there are some that, like, it’s definitely one of the most relevant subjects today is the
inception of “Fox News” and the effect of that on the world that we’re living. And so to spend five months in New York, where I live, delving
into that world which of course has crossovers in terms of what I’m interested in with Murdoch and that empire of news corps, it was just
And to play somebody completely different to myself, you know? If you lined up Deb and Beth, they just could not be more opposite. And that kind
of challenge, that kind of versatility is what I love about my job.
AMANPOUR: Just remind us how difficult it was being a young woman in your line of work, harassed and hounded by the paparazzi and you said you even
did — you once watched an Amy Winehouse documentary and you saw how she was harassed and pursued and it kind of gave you a kind of a PTSD
flashback. Tell me — describe the dynamic of a young girl being pursued by a pack of male paparazzis.
MILLER: It’s actually very hard to describe. It’s something that I have totally shut off because it was horrendous but basically from the age of 21
to, say, 29, 28, pretty much every day there would be about — at least seven cars of people following wherever you go and running away and being
chased by men because they have cameras in their hands, that’s allowed. That’s insane.
I remember trying to get my key into my front door and not being able to reach my door because they would block the door. And I sort of tolerated
it but you go a little bit mad.
I mean, it’s incredibly stressful and incredibly aggressive. And I think it’s really shifted but it was — it was just too much to bear and it
becomes a kind of Ouroboros.
You start behaving in ways that — because you’re under such stress, that perpetuate the kind of behavior that they want because it creates bigger
stories. It’s just a very messy cycle that feels now in hindsight like it was very much manipulated and controlled and manufactured for that because.
And I’m really, really lucky that I had the strength of my grounding and family to get me through it because I understand absolutely why people
implode. It’s too much for a human to bear.
AMANPOUR: You did actually mention a moment ago the role of “Fox” in society today. And I just wanted to read you something from a “New York
Times” op-ed recently.
You know, in this world where everybody’s so upset about Facebook and how Facebook is allowing so much whatever fake news and trolling and all of
that on, this article by a “New York Times” columnist says, you know, sure, worry about Facebook but not at the risk of overlooking a more clear and
present danger, the million pound fork-tongued colossus that dominates our misinformation menagerie. “Fox News” and the cross-platform lie machine
that it commands.
How much of “Fox’s” ideological, political, and ethical DNA do you even think about when you’re doing this role?
MILLER: I spend a lot of time watching “‘Fox News” because that was what Beth would watch. It’s a fascinating story because they really look into
the decisions that Roger made, which were to manipulate and to be a real representation for what was, at the time, the kind of minority but the belt
of America that was Republican and underrepresented in the media.
So — and he just sort of lost it. I mean, there was no, you know, they only referred to Barack Obama as Barack Hussein Obama that had to be reined
in but the impact of that subconsciously on people is extreme.
It’s — the fact is, I remember when the Kavanaugh hearings were going on, I would switch between CNN and “Fox” just to sort of get a sense of what
was going on and I do that sometimes. And it’s incredibly compelling.
You understand how this network has managed to have the influence that it does over so many people but yes, it’s incredibly irresponsible. You can’t
It’s kind of an interesting story in that sense, to see that those decisions that were made that aren’t accurate, that aren’t nonpartisan, you
AMANPOUR: Sienna Miller, thank you so much indeed.
MILLER: Thank you. Lovely talking to you.
AMANPOUR: We started this program talking to the rising Italian leader, Matteo Salvini. Now, we have an opportunity to look deeper into what makes
effective and good leadership with world-renowned historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
The Pulitzer-Prize winning author has spent her career grappling with the characters of four American presidents from the Lyndon Johnson White House
where she worked at the age of 24 to Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
They’re all featured in her most recent book, “Leadership in Turbulent Times.” She sat down with our Walter Isaacson to discuss what we can learn
from those presidents of the past.
WALTER ISAACSON, CONTRIBUTOR: Doris Kearns Goodwin, thank you so much for being with us and I’m sure you remember but I’ve known you my whole life.
You were my teacher in college on the American presidency. I think you were an extraordinarily young junior professor.
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Clearly.
ISAACSON: You were younger than I was, I think, but you taught me the American presidency and one of the things you taught was a Richard Neustadt
thesis about character and how we have to look at the character of the people we elect. How should we be covering the president and the
presidential election today?
KEARNS GOODWIN: I think the most important thing is temperament and character and how is it evidenced. You look at the kind of team they’ve
created, how they deal with their team, you look at how words matter for them.
You look at whether they can control uncontrollable emotions. You look at the way they communicate and whether their word is their bond.
They’ve all been leaders somewhere. I mean, that’s what strikes me so much. We just are trying to figure out who’s going to be great in the
debate and who’s going to zing who.
They’ve all come from somewhere and we should be looking back and seeing how was their character revealed as governor, as mayor, as senator, as
legislator instead of waiting to do this in a long magazine article later, it’s what we should be talking about all the time.
ISAACSON: One of the things you taught as a professor was to make history a narrative, which was a little bit out of favor among some academics back
then. That history was more analytic, it wasn’t the great people doing wonderful or bad things, and you made it storytelling.
Do you think that’s what we have to do when we cover candidates and figure out the narrative of a candidate running for office?
KEARNS GOODWIN: Absolutely. I mean, I think that’s — people understand stories better than just facts.
I mean, Lincoln was asked sometimes, why do you tell so many stories? And he said, “Because people remember stories better than facts and figures.
Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.”
Indeed, I think even for what’s happening to President Trump, the key thing now will be not simply whether the Democrats decide to impeach him but can
they tell a story so that the country understands what this is about.
You know, you can’t just use words like collusion or impeachment and all the candidates are talking about this right now. It’s the central issue of
But in the end, we need a narrative of what did he do, and did it violate these parts of the constitution? We have to — that’s what Lincoln did all
Every speech he gave, it would be where have we come on this issue, most likely slavery. He was talking about, where are we now, where do we need
to go. And it was always in the form of a story. That’s just — it’s hard-wired in our brain.
ISAACSON: Every one of the people you write about, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, whatever, they all have adversity that shapes
KEARNS GOODWIN: I think leadership studies suggest and it certainly was true with the four guys that I studied that if you can get through an
adversity, there’s a strength on the other end. Earnest Hemingway said everyone is broken by life but afterwards some people are stronger in the
I mean think of it. Abraham Lincoln had a near-suicidal depression, they took all knives and razors and scissors from his room.
[13:40:00] His career in the state legislature was on the downward slide and he felt like he could die but then he said, “But I have not yet done
anything to be remembered by.” That desire to somehow be remembered in history got him through that.
Teddy Roosevelt loses his wife and mother on the same day in the same house, leaves the east, goes to the badlands, is in a real state of
depression and somehow works that through and comes out loving nature and comes out back to politics but with that experience behind him of
overcoming such a sadness and obviously FDR and polio is the clearest example.
You know, through the rehabilitation center that he set up in warm springs, he made himself vulnerable, he was able to make all the other fellow
patients feel they had joy back in their life again. They played water polo and tag and cocktail hours.
And then when it comes to the depression, he knows that this is a psychological thing that he has to deal with, people with depression as
well is an economic thing because he had been through it. So being through it —
ISAACSON: And your fourth one is Lyndon Johnson. So how does he overcome adversity?
KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, what’s interesting with Johnson is that he accumulated power so much as he went along the way and when he was young,
he was a great progressive, he did a lot of things with rural electrification.
At a certain point, however, when he wanted to win the Senate seat, he became more conservative, losing some of the new deal heritage that had
been really a part of his heart. And then he has a massive heart attack in his 40s when he’s at the top of the majority leadership in the Senate and
he goes into a depression and he wakes up and he says to himself, “You know, what if I died now, what would I be remembered for?”
And then right after that, he gave an incredible speech that was an all-new deal speech. He went for civil rights in the Senate and then civil rights
was his priority as president and that’s what he would be remembered for as well as the war in Vietnam.
ISAACSON: And so we have to see growth in an individual. And so that’s part of what history is.
When you look at candidates, you say, how have they grown, how have they learned from something? So how would you look at the current field and
say, of the various candidates with the Democratic nomination, how they’ve grown?
KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, I think the most important thing is what we do mistakenly, I think, is we take something they said or did 30 years ago, 40
years ago, which is not consistent with how we might feel about something today.
And it’s like, getting them for it. Instead, you should have them explain why did I think that way then, you know, I was part of a time that thought
that way, whether it was on gay rights or whether it was on the Iraq War or whatever it was on.
And then if they explain why they thought that way and now looking back on it, they would have done something differently, if they can say that. But
then they get defensive and they evolve. Of course, you want them to evolve, it’s fine to evolve.
But it’s not just simply their stand on positions. I think you would want to know from them if you were interviewing them, you know, when did you do
something that you really felt badly about at the time? How did you deal with that?
Did you acknowledge it or did you try to just let it go by? You know, what mistakes do you think you made because of temperament or just out of youth?
I’d love to have them talk like that.
ISAACSON: Benjamin Franklin kept a —
KEARNS GOODWIN: Your guy.
ISAACSON: Yes. He kept a ledger throughout his life from when he was an apprentice to his older brother when he was just a teenager of all the
errata he made, such as breaking his apprenticeship bounds all the way through his life.
And in the second column, it’s how he rectified those errata and it ends with him approving the compromise on slavery at the constitutional
convention and then how he rectifies it is he becomes president of the society for the abolition of slavery where he has —
KEARNS GOODWIN: Oh, wow. I knew that once upon a time but that’s fabulous.
ISAACSON: Yes, he calls it the world calculus. And I think it would be interesting because politicians never do this anymore. When you say, what
did you get wrong and what did you learn from it? You’re never going to get an answer.
KEARNS GOODWIN: I think they’re afraid that it shows weakness or vulnerability. And the minute they admit something wrong — obviously with
JFK, when he admitted the bay of pigs had been a disaster, his polls went up because people want you to take responsibility and he learned from that
and was able to deal with the Cuban missile crisis much better than he would have without having learned the lessons from the bay of pigs.
But there’s something about the culture, that they’re afraid, that it makes them seem vulnerable and it’s a real mistake because it’s the other way
around, I think.
ISAACSON: And we’ve gotten to the top of that, the apex of that with Donald Trump never looking back and being reflective and saying, well, I
could have done it better.
KEARNS GOODWIN: Yes. I remember there was a moment when he was at the hundred days and he said something that made me think maybe he was going to
be reflective. He said, you know, this job is harder than I thought it was going to be. It’s more complicated, healthcare.
But then these moments when you just want him, like after Pittsburgh, you wanted him to be able to talk about the rhetoric, maybe the rhetoric that
all of us are part of, including me, he could have said, has ratcheted things up and we’ve got to do better.
Those moments are golden moments for a politician when they can acknowledge that something’s happening and they’re a part of it and it’s not right.
And you don’t do that and then you just lock yourself in and you’re not growing and that’s a real problem.
ISAACSON: You know, all the people you’ve written about, [13:45:00] my favorite happens to be Teddy Roosevelt. I think he saves the possibility
of capitalism in the early 20th Century. He knows how to deal with all — but he also uses a bully pulpit and the press.
I mean, he’s basically understanding journalism better than any of us ever have to do this whole notion of a square deal and bring America along.
KEARNS GOODWIN: I mean, think about the conditions at the turn of the 20th Century. It’s so much like ours. I mean, the industrial revolution has
shaken up the economy much like the global revolution in tech have today.
For the first time, you have a gap between the rich and the poor. You have working class people that are feeling cut off from the prosperity of the
You have people in the country feeling cut off from cities. You have lots of inventions and people are feeling life’s moving too fast, telephones,
telegraphs, and they want an earlier and nostalgic way of life.
Populism arises with very similar anti-Wall Street, anti-immigrant, blaming the immigrants. And Teddy’s able to take all that emotion, bombs in the
streets. It was a really rough time for capitalism and make it the progressive movement which was already there in the cities and states and
the social gospel and makes it fair for the rich and the poor, as I say, the capitalist and the wage worker.
And you’re so right, I mean he used the press because he respected them. He would allow them to come. He had these midday shaves and I can’t
imagine how the barber was doing it because he’s sitting and they’re all around him, the journalists, and he’s moving around and the barber’s trying
to keep up with the shave.
And then at the end of the day, the journalists would come back in when he was signing, he loved talking to them. When somebody wrote an interesting
magazine article, and it was a great age of press, I mean, 10,000-word investigative pieces, that’s why I called it the golden age of journalism
on standard oil needing to be broken up, the railroad corruption, food, and drug.
And he would have the journalist to lunch and he would learn from them and he would talk to them. So it was a great time to be a bully pulpit person.
ISAACSON: And another example of that is him barnstorming across America with the square deal thing, which I think is one of the great narrative
triumphs in writing which is your book on that barnstorming tour. Why does he do that?
KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, he understood that the most important thing was to shape public sentiment and he knew that the conservatives had control of
the Congress so he wasn’t going to get the railroad legislation through. He wasn’t going to get the food and drug —
ISAACSON: But he is a Republican.
KEARNS GOODWIN: He’s a Republican, yes. So, what he has to do is to go across the country and build sentiment that the conservatives are going to
have to respond to and he goes to the states that he lost as well as the states he won.
He’s in this train and he meets with local newspaper editors, they come and they listen — he listens to their complaints, he talks to the people.
And then my favorite part is he then continues on the train and there are people standing — he was such a popular president. There are people
standing in little road crossings along the way and he’s standing there waving to them hour after hour because he knows they want to see their
But at one point, he later said, they were a group and they weren’t very friendly, they were rather cold in the reception and somebody told him he
was waving frantically at a herd of cows. So he was really doing this but I think he understood that a president had to get out of Washington and it
was the president’s responsibility through the press, through his train trips, to create a public sentiment.
And I still think that’s — and public sentiment is not just public opinion. I mean Lincoln would say public sentiment is a collective
understanding of what needs to be done and why it needs to be done, like the fight against slavery.
And that with public sentiment, Lincoln said, anything is possible. Without it, nothing is possible. So Teddy understood that absolutely.
ISAACSON: Tell us what Teddy Roosevelt would say if he barnstormed right now and were campaigning for president.
KEARNS GOODWIN: I mean, I think most importantly, I think why he’d be the best person today in some ways, he could command the attention. I mean, he
was every bit as much of a figure. They said when he was in town, it was like the circus.
So he has that quality that President Trump has where you can’t keep your eyes off him. He could also use Twitter if he needed to. He had all those
short statements, speak softly and carry a big stick, don’t hit until you have to, then hit hard.
He even gave Maxwell House the slogan, good to the very last drop but he also knew how to explain as he did in words that people understood at the
turn of the 20th Century why the government had to take responsibilities that it had not taken before because otherwise there was unfairness in the
ISAACSON: Give me an example, like breaking up the trusts like Facebook and Google.
KEARNS GOODWIN: Yes. And what was good about the way he talked about the trusts was it wasn’t just bigness that he was upset with. It was if the
trusts were doing something unfair and if they were — and many of them were corrupt at the time and if they were not reducing prices for consumers
and just taking it for themselves.
So unlike some other antitrust people who just cared about it being big, they were looking at the conduct of the trusts but that was a big moment
because people were feeling that big companies were swallowing up small companies. So he understood that and he explained it to the people.
That’s what — that’s what FDR did with his fireside chats. It’s why the bully pulpit he [13:50:00] coined as the president’s platform to shape
public opinion and then make things possible.
ISAACSON: But the square deal that Teddy Roosevelt talked about wasn’t just for the poor. It wasn’t just for the disenfranchised. In some ways,
he wanted to make sure everybody felt part of it.
KEARNS GOODWIN: And that’s what’s so necessary today. If you could have a leader that felt that the divisions were not being escalated but somehow
was feeling that actions have to be taken.
It’s not just America. There’s countries everywhere in the world right now where people are feeling the prosperity is not being shared enough and
they’ve not got mobility, they don’t have a chance.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be anti-rich, necessarily. You just want to make capitalism work for the majority of the people, not just for a few
And my husband wrote a wonderful essay one time about the twin pillars of American democracy. And he said, “Democracy’s one of them and capitalism
is the other. And — but democracy has to have a share in understanding what capitalism is doing but you need them both.”
And I think that’s what Teddy understood. And he really saved capitalism in a lot of ways because of bringing government in, not to overtake things but
to make things more fair, to get more mobility in the society.
ISAACSON: Your husband, Richard Goodwin, was, of course, a hero to a lot of us for many years, worked for the Kennedys, wrote for Lyndon Johnson
when Johnson proposes the civil rights. And he died about a year ago, right?
What’s it been like? What are you doing to deal with that?
ISAACSON: Well, the thing that’d make it both harder and easier is that he was working on a book, which had to do with his experiences and choosing
public service as his life. And my best friend and his best friend and I are hopefully finishing the book so we’re deep into all of the boxes.
He saved everything. It’s unbelievable. We have 100 cartons of stuff from JFK and LBJ.
ISAACSON: You have to give me an example of when you open a box and you find something great.
KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, there’s letters from Jackie Kennedy, a handwritten. There’s notes from JFK about the debate. There’s Lyndon Johnson’s edits on
You’ll see draft one, two, three of the great society speech. You see the draft of the We Shall Overcome speech. You see the draft of Bobby’s
ripples of hope speech.
I mean it’s like he’s still alive as we’re going through all this. But the most important thing was here he was, first in his class at Harvard Law
Review, editor of the Law Review, clerks for Justice Frankfurter and he decides to go into public life.
The law firms are all romancing him and he had an extraordinarily public life. I mean on the plane with Sorenson and JFK’s campaign, did the
Alliance for Progress. He created the Alliance for Progress.
In fact, I think about it now when we talk about what should we do about Central America and South America to not make these people feel compelled
to leave their countries and that was for social justice for Latin American countries. It was a big program under Kennedy.
Then he goes to Johnson and does all the civil rights stuff. I mean, We Shall Overcome speech for voting rights, Howard University, the great
society, and then eventually leaves because he sees the war eating it up.
And he wants Bobby Kennedy to go into the race. He and Bobby were very close. Bobby hesitates.
He just takes his typewriter and goes to McCarthy in New Hampshire and that’s his main guy. And then when Bobby finally gets in the race, he
writes to McCarthy to tell him, this is my closest friend, and McCarthy understands it.
An interviewer, he said he’s like a pitcher, you can trade him to another team and he’ll start pitching right away but he won’t give up the signals
of the team before. And then he goes with Bobby and he’s with Bobby when he died.
And having gone through all of that still, JFK dying, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, he still comes out of it and the tone of what he was writing
was that America’s not as fragile as we think. That he had lived through the depression, World War II, all those events in the ’60s and he still
believed in the ideals of this country.
So that’s what he was writing and that kept him not just alive but with a sense of purpose the last years of his life. So I’m hoping we can finish
ISAACSON: Doris Kearns Goodwin, thank you very much.
KEARNS GOODWIN: Thank you, Walter.
AMANPOUR: And for another view on leadership, on Monday, I’ll speak with Ash Carter who is Secretary of Defense, not only managed a $700 billion
budget, he also had to manage his boss, the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASH CARTER, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I had in President Obama also when I was actually secretary of defense somebody who was demanding and was
really quite — didn’t suffer fools easily at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That is it for our program tonight.
Thank you for watching Amanpour and Company on PBS and join us again tomorrow night.