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Trump Media Attacks Come Just Before G20 Summit; G20 Summit to Focus on Paris Climate Deal. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired July 3, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, two presidents, two very different presentations to the world.
As Emmanuel Macron sets out his vision for France in the regal setting of Versailles, Donald Trump tweets out a video of himself wrestling the U.S.
media to the ground, CNN to be precise, right before they all meet at the G20 Summit this week.
The former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis joins the program to try to make heads or tales of what's happening in the White House.
Also ahead, pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords. Former U.N. Climate Chief Christiana Figueres tells us why the bottom line with Trump politics
on this at the G20.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, FORMER U.N. CLIMATE CHIEF: People are saying, well, we will, you know, it's OK whatever happens in politics. The fact is where
the exponential progress is occurring is in the real economy and that's the one that really counts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President Trump faces a critical week for his foreign policy as he prepares to travel to the G20 summit and to meet President Putin for the very first
time and also to defend pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Accords. But he spent his 4th of July holiday weekend fuming over CNN.
Tweeting this doctored video of an actual appearance that he made on a wrestling show ten years ago. With his victim now morphed into CNN.
The video is thought to have come from a pro-Trump section of the social media Web site Reddit from a user with a history of anti-Semitic, anti-
Islamic and racist post.
CNN's response in part, The president, quote, "Is involved in juvenile behaviour far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our
jobs. He should start doing his."
So I'm joined now by the former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis.
What does this mean for the perception and the position of the United States abroad?
Congressman Inglis is also a rare bird. He's a senior Republican who had a damascene conversion on climate change. Indeed, he lost his seat because
of it during the 2010 tea party uprising in Congress.
AMANPOUR: Congressman, welcome to the program.
BOB INGLIS, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Great to be with you. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So there you are. It's the holiday weekend. You see that the president in the United States has quite a lot at stake at G20 summit. Did
you ever imagine that even this tweeting president would go this far?
How do you analyze or assess what he did regarding CNN over the weekend?
INGLIS: Well, I think it truly is, clearly beneath the dignity of the office and dignity of the United States. It really the president --
President Trump is demeaning the office and he is demeaning our country.
I wish that he really would decide to stop these juvenile kind of attacks on the media.
You know, I'm -- I never liked every story that was written about me. But I never would think of attacking the media. The media is so important to
the way that we -- that our whole constitutional Republican works. And the media needs to ask difficult questions. They don't need to be sort of
fawning all over the president like they do on "Fox & Friends." Apparently that's what he prefers and it's really not healthy for the republic.
AMANPOUR: Congressman, can I ask you a very serious question?
You know that there are going to be people around the and maybe the United States beginning to wonder at the state of mind.
What do you think that this president can expect to find or how damaging do you actually think it is to the U.S. position, its leadership role, as he
heads out to major international global summit?
INGLIS: I think it's real possible to trash a brand. You know? I mean, you re-brand Coca-Cola as a new coke, you take a real hit to that brand.
You know, Tylenol has a scare, it's a big hit to the brand. Thankfully they were able to recover from that. But the United States is in the
process of taking a real hit to our brand.
[14:05:00] We presume to be the leader of the free world. And to have a president who isn't terribly focused it would appear on issues of
substance, but rather, sort of settling personal scores with particular TV personalities just really is pretty shocking to I think the whole world and
really does risk a real brand problem for our country.
And not just for our country, but for the whole world because if you have the leader of the free world in such a demeaning state, then the ability to
project soft power and to persuade people to join us in having democracies around the world and free press, it's a real problem. Not just here in
America but around the world.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me just play for you two sound bites, one from Governor Kasich and the other one from Congressman Scott Taylor. They are
talking about President Trump and they are talking about his media attacks.
And I'm playing this because I think a lot of the world doesn't quite understand why, you know, what the role of the Republican leadership is
around managing the Trump public persona.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You've got to stop doing it, and we'll have to see what happens. It's one of the few things that I think brought
Republicans and Democrats together. He spends so much time fighting and then they are all aghast, you know. And so it's just not the way we ought
to be. It's the coarseness is not acceptable.
CONG. SCOTT TAYLOR (R), VIRGINIA: I think you guys are getting played, man. I think every time he does this, you guys overreact. And I say you
guys, I mean, the media in general. You overreact and you play right into his hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, you know, on the one hand, Governor Kasich saying it's just wrong and on the other hand Congressman Taylor saying that, you know, just
take it and don't overreact.
INGLIS: Well, I agree more with Kasich there than with Taylor. And the reason is that we can't allow this to become normal. This is not normal
I mean, I wonder whether it's psychologically normal, but it's clearly not politically normal. And so, it can't -- we should not be demeaned to
ourselves to the point where we accept this. It's just, oh, that's Donald Trump, the president of the United States saying yet another crazy thing
AMANPOUR: Congressman --
INGLIS: That is not acceptable.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you and pick up to what you said about, you know, psychologically normal. And, you know, we can all have fun with it.
People can talk about it. People can, you know, the social media is full of it.
But a President Putin or a President Duterte or allies like Chancellor Merkel, President Macron, name any people around the world -- Kim Jong-un
of North Korea, what -- what affect does this have on the safety and security and the seriousness of the United States?
INGLIS: Well, I think if you know you're in a game of chicken you want to be, you want to know that your opponent is predictable. And the problem
here is that Donald Trump raises the specter of someone who is completely unpredictable coming at you in the car in the game of chicken.
So in a way, that, you know, I think there's some international relations theorists who could say that's pretty good because it upsets the balance.
But in the other hand, for allies especially, it really is worrisome.
I mean, if you are counting on the United States to be the stable force in the world that's for free markets, that's for the expansion of democracy
and freedom around the world and the protection of individual rights and the free press, if that's who you think America -- the role that America
should be filling, then to have Donald Trump basically dissing those sort of attributes really is dispiriting, I think, to our allies. Maybe for our
opponents it is destabilizing, but it is dispiriting for our allies.
AMANPOUR: And, you know, let's not pretend that you're a Democrat or that, you know, you're not a committed Republican.
Back in 1998, you actually voted to impeach President Clinton. And at the time, you had this to say to CNN about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INGLIS: We need to move along. There are issues around the world that require American leadership. The leader of the free world needs moral
authority and we got a president who is sorely lacking in that regard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that's what you and many others believed back then.
How do you measure that lack of moral authority that you claimed of Clinton back then with what Donald Trump has or doesn't have? How do you measure
INGLIS: Well, I guess that young guy you were just playing there apparently hadn't seen something called the Donald Trump show because this
is much more serious than anything we ever accused Bill Clinton of.
I mean, Bill Clinton is a problem involving perjury with the underlying matter being sexual affair. This is something quite different particularly
when it gets into the Russia investigation, the firing of James Comey. These are very serious matters.
[14:10:00] And then, of course, you have on the substance level, not just this intrigue about what Donald Trump has been involved in and that sort of
-- those things that really could turn out to be impeachable offences, but you also have these very poor decisions he's making on things like
withdrawing the United States from the Paris Accord on climate change. Basically, taking us to the sidelines, snivelling, if you will, with Syria
over there on the sidelines and we should be leading the world to a solution.
So, it's both a problem in terms of the investigations that may lead to impeachment, but it's the substantive problem in the meantime of issues
that we should be involved in that we are not.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you about climate because obviously the president has made all these statements about how it's bad for business and
how he's going to pull the United States out and all of that.
You yourself had a sort of a conversion. I called it a damascene conversion to the reality and the science of climate change.
Explain that to us because many people believe that Republicans like yourself are the last best hope to, you know, getting the U.S. to stick by
the realities of climate change.
How do you come to it?
INGLIS: Well, it's certainly is the case that conservatives are the last best hope because it's -- we are the indispensable partners and the
indispensable nation for action on climate change.
And so for me, from our first six years in Congress culminating with about the time period you had on that young guy on the clip just now, I said
climate change was nonsense. I didn't know anything about it except that Al Gore was for it.
And since I presented a very conservative district in South Carolina, that was the end of the inquiry. But then I was out six years. I ran again in
2004. My son came to me. He was voting for the first time. He just turned 18. And so he said to me, dad, I'll vote for you but you're going
to clean up your act on the environment.
It's a first of a three-step metamorphosis for me. Next step was a science committee trip to Antarctica. Next step was another science committee trip
encounters with an Aussie climate scientist who showed me about creation care. And so as a result, I got right involved in solving this thing of
climate change by using free enterprise principles.
AMANPOUR: Well, you just -- you know, you just hit the nail on the head, the whole idea of the economy and free enterprise principles. But you're
also a very committed, devoted Christian.
Why do you think your views on climate care, you know, on this issue haven't really translated to the majority of the Republican base? And you
see that there are all sorts of climate deniers in the administration right now who are working very hard to reverse some of the science that is -- you
know, slowly but surely becoming accepted in the United States.
INGLIS: Right. And those elections do have consequences and suffering the consequences right now, for example, in U.S. aid going to the building of
coal fired plants around the world. Reversing an Obama order.
So elections have consequences. And in the meantime, what we have is people that have seen a tribal marking here. I think it is, Christiane.
I mean, they have seen -- they have assumed that the solution is a bigger government that taxes more, that regulates more, because they heard of cap
in trade. And then they heard of the clean power plant, President Obama's regulatory answer.
They have yet to hear what we at Republican.org wish to show them, which is a small government solution of simply putting all the costs in on the fuels
and eliminating all the subsidies.
And once we show them that solution, we think they can embrace it, understanding that they have a lot to offer as free enterprise
conservatives. They've got the answer.
And, of course, the good news is many there are many progressives who would agree with that. And we can bring America together and lead the world to a
solution on climate change.
AMANPOUR: Well, on that very optimistic note, Congressman Bob Inglis, thank you so much for joining us.
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, the woman who led the Paris climate deal, Christiana Figueres, on the three years that we have left to halt dangerous
levels of change.
But, first, a Republican governor brazenly taking advantage of the heated weekend weather.
The New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has plenty of space there to spread out at this public beach because he had made it off limits to all the other
members of the public, because it's part of a government shutdown.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal has only made the EU plus China and India more resolved to defend it.
The German chancellor says that climate change would be one of the main issues on the table at the G20 summit that she is hosting this year in
The last time they all met at the G7, Trump said the U.S. would pull out which led the former U.N. climate chief Christiane Figueres to call that
decision a vacuous political melodrama.
She explained why she's still an optimist even if America wants to surrender its global leadership role when she joined me here in the studio.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
FIGUERES: Thank you very much for the invitation.
AMANPOUR: Here we go. G20. Coming up. And the G7 apparently was a disaster for the climate because of President Trump's saying he'll pull the
How seriously do you take that?
FIGUERES: Well, I don't think it was a disaster for the climate because the G6 did come to an agreement on it with the United States reserving its
right to not sign on, which is predictable, right?
I think that is consequential from the White House announcement.
Now the question is what is going to happen at the G20? Because here we have not just the industrialized countries but we have the leading,
developing countries, as well. And that's a big question.
So, you know, one possibility is that there would be movement forward without the United States. Another possibility is that there may be, let's
say, somewhat more timid statement coming out because of the interest to get this United States on board.
AMANPOUR: You have said after, right after Donald Trump did this, that it's about politics, it's a vacuous political melodrama.
Is the community not taking it seriously? In other words, do you think it's just words or could it have an effect?
FIGUERES: I think that what we're beginning to see and we may see it also at the G20 is the beginning of let's say a dissonance between the political
discourse on one hand, that is being to a certain extent defined by the United States and the real economy.
And so, that dissonance is possible that over the next three years or so, we may see that dissonance or that gap grow, but what is important to
understand about that gap is that just because the political discourse is stuck some place doesn't mean that the real economy is not moving forward.
In fact, I think the most important shift that has occurred in climate is that we are beyond politics and ideology. We are not into the real
economy. We are into the technologies. We are into the prices. We are into the market forces.
And that is why I think many people are saying, well, we will, you know, it's OK whatever happens in politics. The fact is where the exponential
progress is occurring is in the real economy and that's the one that really counts.
AMANPOUR: And that's what a lot of business people are betting on, even people like obviously Mayor Bloomberg. One of the world's most successful
entrepreneurs and many others.
[14:15:00] But I just want to know what materially it means if the biggest polluter in the world, the biggest power in the world, United States,
actually pulls out? And none other than, you know, Stephen Hawking was interviewed. He does rare interviews. This is what he said about Trump
pulling out of Paris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN HAWKING, THEORETICAL PHYSICIST: We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump's action could push the
earth over the brink to become like Venus with a temperature of 250 degrees and raining sulphuric acid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It's pretty -- it's pretty alarming. Amazing scientist. It is stark. I mean, raining sulphuric acid. Temperatures as high as Venus.
Why are you not more alarmed?
FIGUERES: Because I think that that statement would be correct if the entire world were to follow the direction that has been suggested by the
White House. But the fact is that that is not the case.
[14:25:00] The fact is as I said the real economy and so many of the stakeholders who really are so much closer to the action so mayors,
governors, CEOs, investors, they are much, much closer to the action and they have come forward before and after the White House announcement to say
they're still in. Because they understand that this is good for them.
They're not there. Let's be very clear, Christiane.
They are not there pushing on the decarbonization of the global economy because necessarily they want to save the planet from becoming, you know, a
Venus. They're there because they understand it's good for their bottom line and that's the strength of this.
We're not choosing between saving the planet and strengthening the economy. Actually, those two imperatives coincide.
AMANPOUR: Actually, polls are showing that a rapidly developing majority of ordinary Republicans, ordinary voters are on board with the climate
science and Republicans.
FIGUERES: 75 percent exactly.
AMANPOUR: And that's really, what, including Republicans. That's very, very important. However, not Republican leaders as I was saying. At least
not many of them.
Scott Pruitt, President Trump's EPA chief is really trying to sort of whittle away at this. And in fact he's got some new conference coming up,
where he is going to once again try to open the book on climate science.
FIGUERES: Yes. I mean, obviously you could attempt to deny the science of gravity, but it doesn't really diminish the gravitational pull on you or on
So, you know, I mean, if that's what you want to do, well, bless you, but the fact is I think that our use of time is much better in trying to figure
out what is the insurance policy that we have, right?
We don't get on a plane, we don't get on any situation that is in the least bit risky without having an insurance. What we are talking about is this
is the insurance policy that the planet needs and in the long term. And in the short term it brings jobs, it gives us better energy independence, it
gives us better food security. I mean, it is honestly absolutely the best thing.
The best evidence is India, OK? Because everybody thought, OK, India is going to lag behind. No. India has come forward and they have said, you
know what, under Paris, we put in a pledge that we would be at 40 percent renewable energy by 2030.
Now because solar is cheaper in India than coal, now India has upped up its predictions and they are saying we are going to be not at 40 percent, but
at 60 percent renewable. And by the way, not by 2030, but three years earlier, 2027.
AMANPOUR: And China?
FIGUERES: And China, closing coal plants, putting on, you know, more election zero emission electric vehicles than anyone else, 5 million over
the next three years, investing in a huge charging station infrastructure in China and really moving forward.
In fact, even intellectually and from clinical point of view really contributing to the developing practice of green finance because they
understand that this is their competitive edge.
AMANPOUR: Just, you know, sort of an atmospheric sort of situation. What's it say to you, I mean, to all of us, when the biggest, most
developed, most technologically proficient country in the history of the world, the United States, is a flat earth society?
FIGUERES: Yes. And I think it's sad. Honestly, I think it's very sad and it's of concern for the U.S. economy because it is really cutting off their
nose despite their face. It is closing the door to the creation of many jobs. It is closing the door to developing the technologies so that they
can export the technologies of this century. Nobody wants to buy the technologies of last century, right? It is the technologies of this
And so it is a hamper on economic growth in the United States. And I think that that's very sad.
AMANPOUR: It won't make America great again.
FIGUERES: It is definitely not going to make the United States great again. Definitely not, no. America is a continent and America is great.
AMANPOUR: Thank you for reminding me, Ms. Figueres of Costa Rica. Thanks so much.
FIGUERES: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And just a note on some information that CNN is following, some news just in from the U.S. City of Boston, where a vehicle has struck a
group of pedestrians in East Boston near Logan International Airport. People have been injured and police say ambulances are on the scene and, of
course, stay with CNN for that developing story and we'll be back after a short break.
[14:26:45] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, some news and some developments that CNN is following this holiday weekend in the United States. It's the
July 4th Independence Day weekend and from the city of Boston, there's information that a vehicle has struck a group of pedestrians in East Boston
near Logan International Airport.
People have been injured and police say ambulances are on the scene. That is all we know right now. We're continuing to follow the details and, of
course, stay with CNN for more on this story. That is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can listen to our podcast any time, see us online
at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and good night from London.