Return to Transcripts main page


Obama Mourns Slain Police Officers in Dallas; Countdown to May Day; Imagine a World. Aired 11-11:30p ET

Aired July 12, 2016 - 23:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: President Obama is in Dallas to do it again, to try to comfort and unite a community and a

country reeling from shooting of five white police officers and two black men.

What will it take to finally heal the guns and race divide in America?

Also ahead: as the new British prime minister prepares to enter Number 10, a word of warning from across the Channel about the Brexit road ahead.


GERARD ARAUD, FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: It's like marriage. I think the British will have to renegotiate dozens and maybe hundreds of trade

agreements, especially in the framework of the World Trade Organization.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Turbulent times: President Obama went to Dallas today, seeking to heal America's racial tensions, ripped even further apart by the murder of five

white police officers in Texas after police killed two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Faced with this violence we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be breached. We wonder

if an African American community that feels unfairly targeted by police and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs can

ever understand each others' experience.


AMANPOUR: Also there, Texas resident and the former U.S. president, George W. Bush, who's rarely spoken in public since leaving office.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your love ones' time with you was too short. They did not get a chance to properly say

goodbye. But they went where duty called. They defended us, even to the end.


AMANPOUR: But it's not only commanders in chief; the Dallas police chief, whose own son murdered a police officer and was himself killed, has won

admiration and respect across the nation for his calm, empathetic and even- handed approach.


DAVID BROWN, DALLAS POLICE CHIEF: I grew up in the poor areas of Dallas. I'm an inner city kid. And I really appreciate my experiences growing up


And this city has embraced me as its police chief and I've always felt a sense of urgency about delivering police service. This is going to be

about the men and women in blue who sacrifice their lives every day and these families planning for funerals.


AMANPOUR: Joining me from Princeton University in New Jersey is Professor Eddie Glaude. He's the chair of the Center for African American Studies

and he's the author of "Democracy in Black: How Race Still Governs the American Soul."


AMANPOUR: Professor Glaude, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: I'd said that President Obama is in Dallas to do it again. This is the 11th time he will be trying to heal and comfort a nation. It's not

all the same situations but in this case, guns and race.

Can he do what he believes he was put on this Earth to do, ever since his 2004 convention speech about healing this country?

GLAUDE: Well, I mean, it's a very tall order. I mean, racism has been the central contradiction in this fragile experiment in democracy ever since

our founding, when we reconciled the principles of freedom, liberty and equality with the institution of slavery.

In fact it's fairly rare that you had a modern constitutional state with the institution of slavery. So the idea of citizenship has always been

over-determined in this country by the reality of white supremacy.

So President Obama's efforts today and in the recent past come up against or run up against an enormous history -- and I should say this, too, is

that President Obama has needed to be, I think, in my view, he needed to be bolder and he needs to be bolder in this moment, in the last days of his



GLAUDE: We need to confront honestly the antimony (sic) at the heart of this country and that -- and that's the value gap. There is the belief

that white people matter more in this country and that belief animates everything, everything in this place.

AMANPOUR: What should he say?

Because he is saying at this memorial in Dallas that the country is not as divided and different and disunited as it thinks it is.

What do you think he should do in the remaining months of his presidency on this issue?

GLAUDE: Well, I think he needs to force us to have an honest conversation. Oftentimes, when the president speaks -- and, again, this is just not a

critique of him -- we -- I find him to, in some ways, engage in the work of trying to convince fellow white citizens that unequal treatment under the

law is actually occurring, that many of our fellow citizens -- I mean, we just heard the former mayor of New York, for example, Rudy Giuliani, in

effect, make the argument that Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were the reason why -- reasons why they are dead, right, that, in fact, it's black-

on-black crime. It's a culture of poverty that's the result, that results in more death than police violence, vis-a-vis black folk, just changing the

subject completely.

So it's exhausting to have to convince people of the merit of the claim, that there is disparate impact and disparate impact reflects broad,

sweeping discrimination in policing in this country.

So I think part of what President Obama has to do is force us to have an honest conversation and force us to confront the assumptions, the

assumptions that inform our fears, the fears that then become justification for taking the lives of black and brown men and women.

AMANPOUR: Professor, you just mentioned Rudy Giuliani, Republican, and quite hardline when it comes to law enforcement.

I want to quote you Matt Lewis, who is a conservative and a senior contributor to "The Daily Caller."

He said, in the aftermath of these tragedies, both in St. Louis, Minnesota and Dallas, "If there's any good to come from this horrible trend, it may

be that the scales are coming off the eyes of a lot of well-meaning, if naive, white Americans."

Do you believe that's true?

GLAUDE: Well, I hope so. I mean, one of the things that we do know is that America, for the most part, is a terribly segregated society, that,

even though we've passed the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of '64 and the Voting Rights Act of '65, the last

piece of major legislation from the Great Society was 1968.

Just 12 years later, though, just 12 years later -- we want to be very clear -- we had the Reagan revolution and it was a wholesale assault on

just the fundamental assumptions of the Great Society.

And so what we have -- what we have to do is kind of grapple with, right, a set of arguments about the condition of black folk, that there is a

standing kind of assumption among a certain sector of American society that black folk are the reasons why they're suffering, that we're to blame for


I'm not trying to say that African Americans aren't responsible. We're human beings. So part of the work, given that we're so segregated, given

that so much of white America has little to no clue of what happens in black America, that these events that go viral and where we see violence at

this scale, what we see, the human element, Diamond Reynolds' 4-year-old baby, trying to console her mother, "I'm here, Mommy," or Alton Sterling's

15-year-old son weeping, not crying, weeping, right, that there's a human element underneath these abstractions that hopefully, hopefully this

becomes the occasion for some genuine, genuine work as opposed to just trading in stereotypes and assumptions.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you about this human element. You are a Princeton professor. Your son is a Brown University student. You're Ivy

League in America.

And yet, after the killings, both of you wrote open letters to each other.

And you wrote, "The police have killed another black person. His cries made me think of you. I won't stop worrying about you until I die."

And we hear often black people telling us about the talk that they have to have -- with their sons mostly. Tell me about what you were saying to your

son, what he was saying to you and the talk that you have to have.

GLAUDE: Oh, absolutely. My dad had it with me; his dad had it with him, under different material and historical conditions. But it's the talk

about being respectful to police. It's the talk about keeping your hands on the steering wheel, asking questions, asking permission to reach for

your registration, looking him in the eye but being very respectful in your engagement with the police officers, all in -- with the hope that you will

come out of that experience alive.

Look, my son is at Brown; I was just recently elected the president of the --


GLAUDE: -- American Academy of Religion, the largest academic organization of scholars of religion in the world. And on the day that I got elected, I

received a phone call from my son, from brown. He was doing an assignment in an upscale park in Rhode Island, Providence, Rhode Island.

And a police cruiser pulled by him, drove up on the sidewalk, got out. And the police officer shined a light in his face and at his feet and asked

him, "Who are you and why are you here?"

And my son told him, "I'm a Brown student doing an assignment."

And the police officer leaned in to him and said, "The park closes at X time."

And my son said, "Yes, sir, but it's only this time."

The other officer came around with his hand on a weapon and they both leaned into him and told him, "The park closes at this time."

And my son put his hands in the air and said, "Officer, we don't want any trouble," and left.

So if he didn't know how to navigate that encounter, it could have ended up where, A, he could have been in jail or, B, I could have been burying my

child. It's just --


GLAUDE: -- we've done everything right.

AMANPOUR: It's actually appalling to hear you say that -- and we've heard so many parents say that about what could happen to their children.

I want to ask you -- and, actually, President Obama has said it over and again. He said that person could have been my son. He's said it over and

over again.

GLAUDE: Right.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you about Black Lives Matter, what you make of the movement and whether you believe, like some in the movement, that what

happened in Dallas with the killing of five white police officers by a black man, that is jeopardizing some of the gains that were made by the


GLAUDE: Well, to answer the latter question first, it seems to me that the murders, the tragic murders in Dallas certainly changed the context of

peaceful protest in this country. It certainly will put police units around the country on edge and in some ways provide them cover to be

repressive with regards to the peaceful expression of the Second Amendment here in this country.

And I want to just be very clear: at the heart of this country is what I call in democracy in black (ph) the value gap. And the value gap is the

belief that white people matter more than others. And that belief is part of the culture of this place. It animates our social practices and our

political and economic arrangements.

And to the extent to which that belief obtains, its makes black life precarious. You never know when it's going to be the last time you take

your last breath.


And so that precariousness defines what it means to be black in this country. And until we tackle the value gap and the habits that surround it

-- and it's easy for us to look for the loud racist -- it's really all of us, all of us.

We live our lives in such a way that we sustain this stuff. It's going to require a much more difficult conversation, a much more difficult

revolution of value if we're going to fundamentally change this country.


Professor Eddie Glaude, thank you very much for joining us from Princeton tonight.

GLAUDE: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: So with America in the throes of yet more tragedy, in New York a luminous phenomenon was observed, a natural and rare phenomenon as the sun

aligned with New York City's manmade grid to create the so-called Manhattanhenge, a term coined by astrophysicist Neal deGrasse Tyson.

It happens twice a year and the next one will appear May 2017.

Meantime, Britain isn't waiting another year for May Day to roll around. Theresa May will become the next British prime minister tomorrow. My next

guest calls nightmarish negotiations ahead. Europe's view of the post- Brexit world -- that's after this.





AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

It's been hard to keep up with British politics these days ever since the shock Brexit vote. There's been an endless series of unexpected drama,

resignations, desertions, revolving doors. And it will be all changed again tomorrow, perhaps before it all settles down again.

Theresa May will officially take over from David Cameron as prime minister. But no honeymoon period for her. Brexit will be first, middle and last on

her to-do list. And now, all of Europe desperately wants to know when she'll trigger Article 50 and start divorce proceedings, desperate to lift

the heavy burden of uncertainty that's hanging over the entire continent.

As my next guest, the French ambassador, Gerard Araud, said when he joined me from Washington.


AMANPOUR: Ambassador Araud, welcome to the program.

You have been very expressive on Twitter about your feelings. Tell me why you're so anti-Brexit.

ARAUD: Well, because first, I think it was a feeling of sadness. I can't imagine Europe without the British, without their capabilities, their

abilities and even without their humor.

And, second, it was an expression of concern because we are facing everywhere, from the U.S. to France to Scandinavia, an outburst of populism

and there is a real danger that the Brexit could be the first act of the unraveling of the European Union. And that's why we are concerned -- and I

was also sad and worried.

AMANPOUR: Because your own country is facing its own potential Frexit; Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, extreme right-wing party,

has made no bones about it. She wants to do what the British have done.

Is this a real possibility in your country?

ARAUD: Well, you know, again, I used to say, in Washington, D.C., that Trumpism is a trans-Atlantic phenomenon and the U.K. Trumpism is Brexit and

Le Pen is, in a sense, the French Brexit. So there is a crisis.

We are facing a deep crisis all over Europe. And we have to respond to the questions which are raised by our citizens, because behind Trump, behind Le

Pen, behind Brexit, you have legitimate questions raised by our voters.

AMANPOUR: Well, it is said that Prime Minister Cameron and the establishment here did not respond to those legitimate concerns. And the

voters identified what they called uncontrolled immigration into this country as one of their main reasons for voting Brexit.

Is your government responding to those very legitimate concerns that you're talking about?

ARAUD: Well, I think there are a lot of different questions, immigration being maybe more a symptom than really the crux of the crisis.

The French president will actually travel around Europe in a few days, going to some capitals to see what can we do. It's not a question of more

Europe or sort of a broad initiative. It's simply to try to make our union, which is a complicated mechanism, more responsive to the questions

of our citizens.

AMANPOUR: Well, what about the new prime minister in Britain?

What do you make of her?

She was a Remainer.

She said, "Brexit is Brexit."

I just want to know how you, as the French government, feel that these negotiations should proceed.

ARAUD: Well, first, Brexit is Brexit. I think we shouldn't be in a sort of state of denial, whatever we think of it. It would be a mistake to deny

the result of a vote. It would be a democratic mistake.

Secondly, the negotiations have been -- to be conducted as soon as possible. It's not because we want to push the U.K. outside. It's simply

that we want to lift the uncertainty, which is waiting on the European Union.

Let's wait, the U.K. government, because, first, we need to have a U.K. government. And after that, U.K. has to decide what are their goals during

-- for the negotiation. It will be a difficult technical and political negotiation.

On the French side, we want to have a very close, very positive relationship with the United Kingdom --


ARAUD: -- while, of course, respecting the principles of the E.U.

AMANPOUR: How difficult will it be for the U.K. to renegotiate all these trade agreements that it has?

ARAUD: Oh, it's nightmarish. I think the British will have to renegotiate dozens and maybe hundreds of trade agreements, especially in the framework

of the World Trade Organization. And you can't imagine how many strong legal links we have between U.K. and the European Union.

So not only the U.K. will have to cut its links and its ties with the European Union but it will have to create new ties and new links with all

the other countries, ties and links that the U.K. had so far for the European Union.

No, technically, it will be very, very complicated; very, very difficult for the E.U. and especially for the U.K.

AMANPOUR: Do you think the E.U. has to reform?

Do you think that this is also a wakeup call for the E.U.?

ARAUD: Of course, of course, it's a wakeup call for the E.U. But you have also to recognize that the E.U. is facing a lot of different crises and

most of them are not of its own making.

You know, the immigration crisis, you know, really, but we have also terrorism and eventually we have, in a sense, the end of the economic

crisis which has come from the U.S. in 2008, 2009. So it's a very challenging time for the E.U.

But so far E.U. has always overcome the challenges. So I trust that we'll do it again.

AMANPOUR: Obviously, France is part of the anti-ISIS coalition. But you also see what Assad is doing in Syria and how the noose is tightening

around Aleppo.

Where is this going to go, Ambassador?

Because, let's face it, the uncontrolled migration and immigration and refugees is a direct result of the unstoppable war in Syria.

ARAUD: No, exactly. And so it's not only humanitarian tragedy in Syria but it has also very direct consequences, political consequences, on the

European Union.

You know, right now, the secretary of state, John Kerry, is in Moscow. And we do hope that he will succeed to convince the Russians to engage into

real negotiations about the political transition because, for the moment, the obstacle comes very clearly from Assad himself.

AMANPOUR: I mean, it's been months since President Putin announced at the U.N. that they were going to get involved. And it's the same old, same

old. No cease-fire, no political transition...

ARAUD: No, you're right. You know, it has been a very disappointing end, which means a lot of suffering for the civilians. The way to Damascus for

us is going from -- for Moscow; we want to convince the Russians that their -- the best way to preserve their national interest is to have a stable

government in Damascus, which means without Assad.

AMANPOUR: All right. On that note, Ambassador Gerard Araud, thank you for joining us from Washington.

ARAUD: Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: Now as if all of this wasn't enough for the outgoing British prime minister, David Cameron, his blink-and-you'll-miss-it resignation

yesterday has gone viral for a reason that no one was expecting: humming his way back into Number 10, caught on the hot mike that he was still




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a good day, Prime Minister.



AMANPOUR: "Right."

Well, never let that kind of opportunity go to waste. Composer Thomas Hewitt Jones quickly whipped up some sheet music in a piece that he's

calling "Fantasy on David Cameron."




AMANPOUR: Right, then. Keep calm and carry on.

When we come back, the New Zealand take-away owner with the coolest head of all. Imagine standing your ground under any circumstance. We'll tell you

after this.





AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world finding the zeal in New Zealand. The country is positively exploding with enthusiasm.

First, 40,000 New Zealanders pooled their funds together to purchase this private beach and turn it into a public park for the public. It had been

advertised for sale by real estate agents touting it as the world's best beach. But a local pastor drew a line in the sand, crowdfunding more than

$1.5 million -- with a little help from the government -- and together purchasing the land for ordinary people to enjoy.

Now as if that bit of civic-mindedness wasn't enough, how about this heroic Kiwi, holding his own bit of ground.

The owner of a take-away restaurant in Christchurch, New Zealand, proved how cool he is in the face of an attempted armed robbery. This security

cam video shows Said Ahmed (ph) preparing a chicken souvlaki for a customer as a man holding a gun comes in and tries to hold him up.

He calmly finishes the food, hands it over and walks away from the gunman to call the police. The would-be robber is evidently so discombobulated by

this unexpected response that he promptly gives up the ghost and flees the scene of his would-be crime, empty-handed.

And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.