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Trump Kicks Off "America First" Agenda; Europe Reacts to Trump Presidency; Theresa May and Donald Trump to Meet Friday; A Matter of Fact. Aired 11-11:30p ET
Aired January 23, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:01:20] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
And Europe is bracing for the Trump effect after his inaugural broadly pledging isolationism and nationalism. The German foreign minister said
they were waiting to see what policies go into action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): All those who are hoping that we might already hear something more concrete on
domestic and foreign policy during the inauguration speech must today say that for the moment we don't know yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But in Washington, President Donald Trump began his first full day of work at the White House ushering in what he's promised to be a
profound American retrenchment from the world. His first order of business, meeting with corporate titans in his moon shot pledge to bring
manufacturing jobs back home or else tax anything they bring in from abroad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we want is fair trade. Fair trade. And we're going to treat countries fairly, but they have to
treat us fairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: After that, a signature to fulfill another promise, withdrawing from the Transpacific Partnership, the TPP. The massive free trade
agreement negotiated by the Obama administration.
Now here's the taste of the main action points for the Trump presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: American carnage enriched foreign industry. Depletion of our military. It's going to be only America first. America first. Protection
will lead to great prosperity and strength.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that was, of course, parts of the inaugural address from Friday.
Now Ted Malloch is a vocal supporter of President Trump and has held private meetings with his team and he joins me here to talk about what we
can expect after this first day.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program. What about this TPP? One of the very first things that President Trump has done.
Now we're hearing from the Germans, for instance, and others that they're not sure who's going to benefit from that. They feel that all sides could
be the losers in that.
TED MALLOCH, CEO, THE ROOSEVELT GROUP: Well, I don't know the Germans had any stake at all in the TPP so I don't know why they are commenting on it.
The next injury will probably be to the TTIP, the European deal, which I think Trump has no affection for either.
AMANPOUR: So you think that's going to be the next thing?
MALLOCH: I think it's guaranteed.
AMANPOUR: Given that that is the case, what do you expect to be the reaction, let's say from Asia, not just over TPP, but for instance some of
the trade tariffs, promises, pledge, threats, whatever you want to call them regarding America and China?
Because, again, they say that if that turns into a full trade war, that will eventually hurt America as well as many other parts of the world.
MALLOCH: Well, I'm not an expert on Asia, but I can tell you that in the future, most of the American relationships will be bilateral. So there's
no reason why bilateral agreements can't give us good trade flows. And I would suggest that in the case of Europe, you're going to see particularly
in the case of the U.S.-U.K. special relationship, and instance of that rather immediately.
AMANPOUR: Let me, first, ask you about the special relationship, because as we said, Theresa May will be the first foreign leader to meet with
We kind of know what's in it for Theresa May, in that she wants a free trade deal because of Brexit. It will strengthen her hand as she goes into
What is in it for Donald Trump? Why do something -- what message is he sending by promising a free trade deal?
MALLOCH: Well, I think there are two messages. The first is that he is reinvesting after ten years of depletion in the U.S.-U.K. special
relationship, which is a long and old part of American U.S.-U.K. relations and he's going to reinvest in that so --
AMANPOUR: What do you mean by depletion? They've always been very close.
[23:05:12] MALLOCH: Well, they haven't been as close actually. In the last ten years, I think that you could actually say some of it has receded
as America under Obama pivoted and pivoted towards Asia. So this is a reset on that.
The second thing is, I think, he's signalling as a result of Brexit something to the rest of Europe to say that if you want to have a future
outside of the European Union, that is possible. And the United States, in fact, could be part of that relationship on a bilateral basis.
AMANPOUR: So the bilateral issue and you've just brought up Brexit. Obviously, you were a Brexit supporter. You are a Brexit supporter. You
may -- your voice, your name has been raised as a potential U.S. ambassador to the EU.
What benefit does the break-up of Europe, of the EU bring to the United States of America? In other words, why would a President Trump invest that
much energy in predicting and hailing the break-up of the EU?
MALLOCH: Well, I think that decision is made by European countries one by one. It's not a decision that is politically made in Washington or by
But he is actually opposed to supranational organizations. United States would not join a super national organization. He believes in economic
integration at the level of the local economy, that these decisions should be made within sovereign borders and not within supranational
AMANPOUR: So you've talked about bilateral and non-supranational. But here's the thing. Does he -- are we going to see him move away from the
kind of alliances that have -- American-led alliances since, you know, the end of the Second World War, which have benefited not just those countries
who are in alliance, but also the United States?
In other words, is he going to ditch the concept of a political Europe or a political transatlantic alliance?
MALLOCH: I don't think he will at all. I think that the transatlantic alliance will survive. It will be reinvented, though. I mean, some of
these institutions if we're talking about NATO. We could talk about NATO and others had been around a long time and they haven't really been, you
know, reinvented as they've grown old. He would say obsolete. So in a sense --
AMANPOUR: Did you agree with that, obsolete?
MALLOCH: I do. I agree. Obsolete is a sharp word. I think that they need to find a new breath of life. They find a new meaning. We're not
driving cars that are 70 years old. We're driving new cars.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I know. But cars and alliances are very, very different things. They take years to build.
MALLOCH: I think we're going to rebuild those alliances with some new fashions, with some new orientations, focussed around some new things.
They're not going to go away. I don't think the Europeans should fear that. But there will be and Trump has underscored this all along what is
called burden sharing. So that if you want to be a member of this club, you have to pay the dues.
AMANPOUR: That people kind of get and obviously that should happen.
MALLOCH: No, but they haven't.
AMANPOUR: They have. Some of them have and they need to step up. You're absolutely right about that. But I guess, you know, the question is his
speech was very clear. His inauguration speech. And many have described it as, yes, he's still the president of the world's only global super
power, but he no longer wants for himself or for America the mantle of leader of the free world. That is gone and he wants bilateral relations
and what's good for America first.
MALLOCH: So a year ago, I was on Becky Anderson show, right here in the studio on CNN. She asked me this fairly audacious question. She said
don't you think the rest of the world should vote in the American election?
I was taken back. These are national elections. President Trump is the president of the American people.
AMANPOUR: Yes, but that's --
MALLOCH: We have our own national interests.
AMANPOUR: No, I totally understand that.
MALLOCH: The rest of the world is not voting for President Trump.
AMANPOUR: That wasn't a voting question.
MALLOCH: And we're not moving in any direction towards world government. So I think you're going to find a period where the nation state becomes
again the key actor in the international scene.
AMANPOUR: OK. So it's kind of yes, then. America is abdicating its role that it has held for 70 plus years as leader of the West, as leader of the
so called free world.
MALLOCH: I think they still have a leadership role. They're not -- there's just not going to invest in the kinds of supranational or
international organizations that may have been the case in the past.
There will be a lot more bilateral give and take, and I think that's where the Trump's emphasis is going to be.
AMANPOUR: We're going to have to do some give and take on another day. We are out of time. Ted Malloch, thank you very much indeed.
AMANPOUR: And as we heard from the German foreign minister just earlier, a key European allies are left guessing for the large part right now. The
center right German newspaper, "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" has blared Donald Trump's inauguration speech was declaration of war, the like of
which has never been heard.
Jens Spahn is the deputy finance minister of what is the world's fourth largest economy. He was part of initial team that travelled to New York
and Washington to meet with the Trump transition team because the inauguration and I've been speaking to him from Berlin about what Germany
AMANPOUR: Mr. Span, welcome to the program.
JENS SPAHN, DEPUTY FINANCE MINISTER: Good evening. Hello.
AMANPOUR: Sitting there in Berlin, minister, what do you make several days after the inaugural address, which was a very hard line America first
SPAHN: Well, actually, it was not too surprising watching Donald Trump, the new president said. It is what he had said before in the months of the
campaigning. What was a bit surprising was that he just said it again on this special day.
We should get away from all this headlines, actually, all the things that are, again, right now, distracting the attention from the important things.
And should really discuss trade issues, the issue of the future of NATO with them, and for that we need to meet in person.
AMANPOUR: Before you actually meet in person, how will it affect Germany then, the fact that today the TPP, the Transpacific Partnership was written
out of existence?
Angela Merkel said that she couldn't see how this would be good for either side, and regarding trade, how do you react and how do you plan to deal
with what Donald Trump has said before the inauguration, which was economically Europe, the EU is just a vehicle for Germany.
SPAHN: Well, actually, from a strong -- economically strong Germany, the whole of Europe has an advantage. We have very deep supply chains, for
example, with central and east Europe. So if Germany is good in exporting things, that's actually for the benefit of the whole of Europe.
And when it comes to the current concept of Germany towards the United States, of course, we can discuss that but we should make very clear that
it is a difference to this trade surplus. That, for example, China has with the United States.
It's innately different if you are low income country like China that is actually more or less state -- directed by the state and there's much state
intervention. Or if you're a high-income, high-tech country like Germany.
You know, we have had our troubles with China, too, from a European perspective. Just take the steel issue and the argument we had with China
in the past months.
AMANPOUR: And what about position on NATO? We understand that many U.S. presidents have said that NATO countries need to pay their fair share, but
as a political concept, it looks like Donald Trump doesn't really buy it.
SPAHN: Well, first of all, I think the U.S. administration or President Trump asks President Obama before is right to bring up the question.
I mean, of course the United States can ask why actually are we paying for your security? You are increasing your, you know, social welfare, but not
spending what you have promised to spend for defense. And perhaps there is even a chance for Europe to finally find a common approach, a common stance
on security and defense issues if the United States should make clear that they want to be less engaged in our neighborhood, less engaged in the
Middle East, perhaps less engaged in Africa, then the European Union must be ready to take over this responsibility. And to be honest, so far we are
not. And so this might be a chance actually to unify on this and to find new solutions in Europe.
AMANPOUR: That's really very interesting perspective. So then what would you say to the new Trump administration, which seems to be predicting and
maybe even approving of a further break-up of the EU saying that he thinks many more people will do like Brexit and he seems to think that's a good
SPAHN: Well, the impression of the European Union that the incoming administration had so far might be influenced by people like Farage who was
actually the first European politician that the incoming -- the new president has met.
So I find it very important that your European leaders meet in person with Donald Trump. That we on all levels actually meet with the new
administration, with the new government in the United States. And actually can make very clear that this European Union wants to stay together, will
America First can and should also mean that working together in institutions make -- can make you stronger. That there can be a win/win
for all sides of an agreement. And that is actually what we need to debate about.
[23:15:00]. AMANPOUR: And, finally, you do have an issue. Europe has an issue dealing with the Brexit negotiations. You've obviously seen that
Prime Minister May will be the first foreign leader to meet President Trump. And that it's likely to strengthen her hand. Or at least that's
what Downing Street hopes.
What would you say to Prime Minister May trying to find a quick and speedy U.S.-U.K. free trade deal?
SPAHN: Well, there was always a very strong, traditionally, historically strong relation between the United States and the United Kingdom. So
that's not surprising that they try to get on very well. But I just know as long as Britain, as the U.K. is a member of the European Union, it's up
to the European Union to negotiate trade deals.
When it comes to Brexit itself, I just can repeat and repeat that we as the German government, we want to have very strong economic and political
relations with the United Kingdom, especially after, still after Brexit. But for that, we have to know whether British governments wants to go off.
That the speech off Theresa May, we know her a bit better, where the British government wants to go, but so far, actually, I don't see where the
landing zone of all these negotiations shall be. So we actually have to start these negotiations, we have to go through all these issues that will
take some time, and I can just say again, we want to have a good deal for Britain, too. But for that we need to have compromises for both sides.
AMANPOUR: Jens Spahn, thank you so much for joining us tonight from Berlin.
SPAHN: It was a pleasure. All the best.
AMANPOUR: And we'll have more on that. Next up, the British prime minister keeps up a proud tradition becoming the first European leader to
meet the new U.S. president.
As Theresa May packs her bags, we ask former -- U.S. former ambassador to Washington, what's in store for the special relationship when we come back.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. They are two world leaders who took office after two sharp votes. Theresa May in Britain and Donald Trump
in the United States and now they're about to meet face to face.
Prime Minister May will fly to Washington for talks with President Trump on Friday. She's the first foreign leader to do so. And it will be an
important meeting for Trump as he looks for a transatlantic ally after predicting the EU could fall apart.
And May is looking for a powerful new trading partner as she prepares to take her country out of the European Union.
So Peter Westmacott was Britain's man in Washington from 2012 to 2016 and he is with me now.
Welcome to the program.
AMANPOUR: We have to thank you for coming in despite a terrible fall that you've taken but thanks for coming in.
PETER WESTMACOTT, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO U.S. FROM 2012-2016: Sorry. It's not very pretty.
AMANPOUR: Yes, but you have to get better. Is the relationship between Britain and the United States in trouble? Is this a sort of a
revitalization of that relationship as Mr. Malloch suggested?
WESTMACOTT: I don't think it's in trouble. Of course, I was the ambassador there (INAUDIBLE) so I would say I wouldn't. But I think that
the substance of that relationship remains very strong. I think it's extremely useful for Theresa May and have sought to the Number 10 team and
to my successors in Washington for arranging this early visit.
But I think it's got real substance to it. It's important both in order to ensure that when the UK has left the European Union and we know now we're
going to leave the single market, leave the customs union, that there is a real prospect of getting a free trade on -- free trade deal with America
[23:20:12] But I think it's also important for Theresa May to have an ally who is so strongly supportive of the whole Brexit process.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. Now in terms of the free trade, it's been said and other British politicians yesterday said that, you know, U.S., India,
Australia, I mean, trade with all these countries combined for Britain is just almost a drop in the ocean compared to trade with the EU. That's one
And the second issue as you heard from the German deputy finance minister was they're not free to make any trade deals now and they can't do it until
after Brexit is completed.
WESTMACOTT: He's absolutely right. We know that. And it doesn't mean to say, however, that you can't have a certain amount of like preparatory
discussion. The relationship with the United States is enormously important for lots of different reasons. But even now, it is by a factor
of 100 percent, twice the size of the trading relationship with Germany, which is our next biggest partner.
So let's not minimize the important of the investment and the trading relationship with the United States as it stands now. With the free trade
agreement, I think it would be even more important. But, you know, you're right. We can't negotiate one of those until we're out of the European
Union. That's why I think the prime minister has been so encouraged to hear that the U.S. intent is to get on with this very quickly.
I would argue and having done a certain amount of trade relationship and having been engaged in the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership
negotiations, which haven't last amid to fruition, that it may well take longer than that.
There are a lot of really big issues on agriculture, on services, on finance and city of London regulation and so on. This stuff could well
take a while to sort out, because it's really important that we get it right with our most important trading partner.
AMANPOUR: Now, obviously, there's so much to ask about, you know, Donald Trump having sort of cast aside the mantle of leader of the free world.
The whole idea as you heard that he's more into bilateral relationships and not these big global alliances.
But can we just move quickly to the Middle East? Because already that's one area. There's been talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Israelis
have just announced more than 500 new homes in disputed areas of East Jerusalem.
Where do you see that happening or going and the Middle East relationship were at large?
WESTMACOTT: Earlier on in the campaign, I noticed that Donald Trump was, in fact, talking about a rather balanced approach in Palestinian rights in
occupied territories and so on. But, clearly, more recently, it's been very different. And I read that there were very fierce messages to the
British government from the Trump team saying no criticism of Israel is to be allowed in the future.
And, of course, the British government did end up being rather critical of what I thought was rather balanced speech by John Kerry about the future of
the Middle East peace process not very long ago just last month.
So I think, you know, the United Kingdom is looking at the Middle East through a rather different prism, and that of what they believe to be the
Trump administration's approach.
My own hope is that we will continue to be strong supporters of the two state solution, because that is actually the only sensible way forward for
both Israel and Palestinian --
AMANPOUR: Do you think it's something -- and do you think it's something that Donald Trump is committed to? two state -- I mean, there's already
sort of -- we're not quite sure.
WESTMACOTT: Well, we're not quite sure. And I think one of the spin-offs, if you like, of a strong relationship being established between Theresa May
and Donald Trump is that she should be in a position to talk to him about some of these really important global security and foreign policy issues
including the future of NATO. And also make the point that it's not a helpful thing to talk down the future of the European Union, which is not
in any of our interest through the relationship which he clearly intends to establish when she goes to Washington on Friday.
AMANPOUR: Sir Peter Westmacott, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
WESTMACOTT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, imagine a world where the new White House press secretary is trying to mend fences after coming under fire on day
one. It is a matter of fact. Next.
[23:26:04] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world speaking in alternative facts.
The new White House press secretary came out to the podium again today for the first time since his combative weekend performance, and this time he
did take questions from his constituents, A.K.A. the White House Press Corps, trying it seems to be less combative and to regain some of the
credibility he lost in his very first performance, now striking a more conciliatory tone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I know that Josh Earnest was voted the most popular press secretary by the Press Corps. So reading and
checking my Twitter feed, I shot Josh an e-mail last night letting him know that he can rest easy, that his title is secure for at least the next few
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That is because his Saturday briefing was just a slap down of the press. No Q&A. Spicer was furious about the reporting on crowd size
at President Trump's inauguration compared to Obama's. And here's the White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, who went out to defend Spicer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You're saying it's a falsehood and they are giving Sean
Spicer, our press secretary gave alternative facts to that. But the point is --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a minute. Alternative facts? Look, alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that saw a spike in searches for the word fact as the world went back to school and the American dictionary Merriam Webster tweeted a
fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality. And that, of curse, is what we have always believed at this program. That's it
for us tonight.
Remember you can always listen to our podcast and see us online @Amanpour.com and of course follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you
for watching and good-bye from London.