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President Trump Delivers First Speech to U.N.; Exclusive Interview with French President Macron
Aired September 19, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight from the United Nations in New York, my exclusive interview with the French President Emmanuel Macron on
the day that President Trump says he will totally destroy North Korea and rips in the Iran nuclear deal yet again. Macron tells me that pulling out
of that would be a big mistake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: My position for Iran for President Trump was to say look at the situation on North Korea. I don't want to
replicate the situation with Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And, later, I turn to the president with something completely different.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I would like to ask you if I say to you love, what does love mean to you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour at the United Nation. And, tonight, my exclusive one-
on-one with the French President Emmanuel Macron.
A man that many people are looking at to try to temper instincts of the U.S. president who has threatened to pull out of many multilateral deals
from trade, to nuclear, to climate.
Today, President Trump took center stage behind me there to deliver his first ever address to the general assembly. And he pulled no punches.
Lashing out at the Iran nuclear deal and the governments of Venezuela and Cuba. But he save his strongest rhetoric to North Korea, mocking its
leader Kim Jong-un.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rocket man is on a suicide mission of himself and for his regime. The Iran deal was one of the worst
and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So the United Nations is all about multilateralism. And many leaders here believe an America first foreign policy can also mean
remaining inside global deals not getting out of them and that it should steer clear of military intervention.
The French president says that he's developed a good relationship with Donald Trump. He's also bucked the trend of nationalist populism and anti-
globalization around the world.
He sat down with me for his first international interview since being elected just as Trump was speaking.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, welcome to the program.
You are here on your first UNGA. President Trump is also making his first address to the world. You have many areas of disagreement with the current
president amongst them the Iran nuclear deal where you think that you should stay in it.
President Trump has told the U.N. in his first global speech that this is the worst deal that he's ever seen in history, and that one way or another
they -- the deal is an embarrassment to the United States. And I don't think you've heard the last of it believe me in a sign that he's preparing
to weaken the deal.
What do you take from that? Do you think he's going to pull out? You've spoken to him about it.
MACRON: I hope no. And I think it would be a big mistake. I think if president -- I -- I don't say that it is Iran deal. It's a nuclear deal
with Iran. It is (INAUDIBLE) of everything about how to deal with Iran.
If President Trump considers it's not sufficient, I do agree with at. We have this deal. I think that the outcome of these deals is that now we
have the monitoring process with the international agency following the situation. And I think that it's better than nothing. OK?
Why? Because if we stop with this deal, if we just stop with the nuclear agreement, so we will enter into a situation very similar to the Korean --
North Korean situation before what happened this summer. So I think it would be a big mistake.
Now this deal has to be completed. And probably, I will try to convince President Trump that the best way to address his concern is to work into
First, we have to work in order to have a monitoring process on ballistic missiles and ballistic activity of Iran. That's a concern. It's a concern
for the whole region. We have to work on it and we need a new agreement. And we can work on sanctions and agreements on the ballistic side.
And, second, we have to complete the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran for the period post-2025, because this agreement still covers until 2025 the
AMANPOUR: But on balance it makes the world a safer place to have this nuclear deal.
MACRON: Definitely. You know, you have to be some governments not compliant with international rules and trying to get nuclear weapons that
fit. That's the situation we have with North Korea and that's the situation we have with some other countries.
MACRON: The more you contain the situation, the more you monitor. Because the more you put international agency and you follow the situation very
carefully, the more you can intervene and contain things. I want to follow this line.
[14:05:10] And I think if we just stop with the deal because it was a deal negojated by Mr. -- President Obama, I mean, it's not a good reason to stop
with the 2015 deal.
AMANPOUR: And what about President Trump at this moment a maximum global crisis over North Korea calling him at the U.N. rocket man, talking about
destroying, you know, the capabilities. That very, very provocative language.
MACRON: Look, I think what we have to do and what we need is to be efficient. I think that North Korean president is probably not very
sensitive to what happened to the U.N.
He's not a great client of the city and the United Nations. The guy is in his own world. My point is not to increase pressure and words against
words. What we have to do is to find the appropriate answer to decrease sanction and protect people.
People in the region. And I want to think of South Korean people living in big anxiety.
AMANPOUR: Japanese people.
MACRON: I want to think about the whole region and our Japanese friends, and I will see Japanese prime minister during this trip to New York. And I
think the whole world because we -- I mean, we speak about a global threat today.
So for me, it's how to decrease the tension, how to contain the North Korean situation and how to increase the pressure to de-escalate.
AMANPOUR: Do you think there's a military solution. I mean, sometimes the president seems to indicate that there's a military solution to North
MACRON: Look at the map. If you think there is a military solution, you speak about a lot of victims. I do believe in militarism, because I do
believe in negotiation. I do believe in how to control -- I do believe in building peace. And I think that's exactly what we have to do in this
AMANPOUR: The president told the United Nations in his speech that he wants a tougher, better deal. He's very concern also about North Korea.
I spoke to the Iranian president who says the U.S. will pay if they pull out of this deal.
What is your view on that? And what have you said to Mr. Trump. I know you discussed it last night.
MACRON: Sure. And I discussed successively with President Trump and President Rouhani about this issue.
First of all, our main concern today regarding nuclear weapon is about North Korea. And this situation is to be handled very carefully. We have
to avoid military answer. We have to increase pressure on North Korea especially coming from China and Russia because North Korea is very
dependent on these two countries. And we have to decrease the pressure and stabilize the situation.
But North Korea is a very good illustration of the what-ifs scenario from nuclear arm deal with Iran. Why? Because we stopped everything with North
Korea years and years ago.
We stopped any monitoring, any discussions with them and want some results. They will probably get nuclear weapon. So my position for Iran to
President Trump was to say look at the situation on North Korea. I don't want to replicate the situation with Iran.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about how you deal with President Trump, because he says some things in person. He says some things on Twitter. His
ministers say other things.
How do you deal with the leader of the free world in this kind of situation. Some have described it as kind of chaotic. Some say they don't
quite know who to listen to.
What does President Macron use to deal with the president of the United States?
MACRON: I have very direct discussions with President Trump. I do appreciate him. We have very good personal relationship. And I have very
direct discussion with him.
I don't think the fear in domestic policies and what you describe as indifferences or discrepancies between different members. For me, there is
one voice. Your president. You elected your president and this is a voice I consider and as a man I speak with.
And it's always the same thing. We share our views. He's very direct. And I think, I think he listens to what I propose.
AMANPOUR: What are the main areas of disagreement right now?
MACRON: I think the very first disagreement is very well known. It's about climate. And as President Trump decided to leave Paris agreement
that's his choice and I do respect his choice and he was elected on the basis of such a decision, but I do regret the decision.
[14:10:00] And I do want to convince him to come back to this agreement, because for me that's core agreement for climate. And I do believe,
especially after these hurricanes we just had north in the U.S. and France, we do see the direct consequences of due to emissions and all this climate
We have to fight against this climate change. And we need the global modernization for that.
So we have a disagreement on this issue, but then I will keep pushing. We have direct discussion yesterday. We will implement Paris agreement on our
own, at the French level, at the European level as well.
We have a strong agreement with the Chinese and the other players. And I think it's very important to preserve a multilateral approach.
And now that's an issue for the U.S. itself to see what they want to do and what President Trump wants to do with climate, but we have to deal with
AMANPOUR: The president says this is a bad deal. We can get a better deal. It's bad for the economy. It's bad for the climate. It's bad for
the United States.
What do you say when he says that to you?
MACRON: I mean, first of all, it's not bad for the climate and environment definitely. And especially if he decides to leave, it will be worse
because the U.S. is a very great contributor in terms of CO2 emission so that's an issue.
And if you don't fix the situation in the U.S., you are not credible to tell the others what they have to do and you have direct consequences of
the situation. So, no, this agreement is not bad for climate. It's wrong.
On the -- even the short middle and long run, that's a good agreement for the U.S. and for all of us.
Because it's true that in order to deal with climate change, you will have to change a lot of things in our economy. I mean, you will have to stop
certain activities regarding fossil fuels, regarding ethical industrial activities because we know that they pollute a lot, but you will create new
jobs to reduce emissions. It means more innovation. More jobs in cleaner sectors.
AMANPOUR: Which brings me then to the very major philosophical point that you're making, which is continue the historical relationship, continue
multilateralism. Be really part of the world.
You know, President Trump has said make America great again. He sort of, kind of shifts between being part of the world and being, you know,
protectionist and isolationist.
What gave you the courage to go against that trend during your election campaign? I remember before the election, you said this is a great moment
for France to go in the opposite direction of the prevailing trends. You know, take on anti-globalization, take on populism.
What made you do that and believe that you could win doing that?
MACRON: Because I know the outcome of this trend, it's war. I do know the outcome of this trend. Nationalism is all about war. We experience that
80 years ago in Europe. So at the end of the day, if you believe that there is nothing to change on this trend and we have to accept anti-
globalization, anti-militarism, pro-nationalism, protectionism and so on. It's all about -- at the end of the day, it's all about how to fight
against each other and it's all about war.
AMANPOUR: When we come back, there will be more of my interview with the president.
Why his poll ratings don't bother him and how he intends to deliver on his campaign promise to quickly reform the jobs market in France?
[14:15:25] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Live from the United Nations in New York, and continuing my exclusive interview with the French President Emmanuel Macron.
Next, we talk about Russia and the war in Syria. But I started by asking him about his promise to overhaul labor laws in France as a way to tackle
Thousands of protestors already come out into the streets. And I wanted to know, would he cave like previous French leaders.
MACRON: No, I will deliver. Why? Because I was very clear during my campaign about the reforms. I explain these reforms. I presented these
reforms for weeks and weeks, and I was elected under these reforms.
I do believe in democracy and democracy is not in the street. So I'm very quiet in that. And I think that at the very beginning of your mandate, you
have a political capital. You have to use it. I don't mind to be very high in terms of popularity and so on. My country has to be reformed.
I have 10 percent unemployment rate. I have almost 25 percent of my young people being unemployed. I mean, it's useless to have a political capital
and to stay in such a situation.
So I am passing reforms on labor markets, on vocational training, on education, on investment, on training and education, series of reform --
some of them unrealistic because I have to deal with a lot of friends in this country, a lot of dysfunctioning situation.
Let's say France sort of (INAUDIBLE) equilibrium, I would say. So you face the resistance. You face unhappy people. I'm fine. I know that. And you
know what, if it were so easy to deliver reforms, probably classical politicians would have been elected to do so.
So it will probably last a few weeks, months in such a situation. I will progressively assess reforms for the government. I will explain --
AMANPOUR: You mean protests will last a few weeks, months
MACRON: This situation of reforms.
AMANPOUR: I see. OK.
MACRON: For reforms. I'm absolutely not in a situation to say you will have big demonstrations or not, but what I know is that I do respect those
who demonstrate, but I do respect French voters and they vote for a change.
And I think what's important is to do what you announced, to do it very quietly and to explain and to explain that it's impossible to have a fair
system if you don't implement these reforms because it's impossible to distribute if you don't produce.
It's impossible to have a strong France if you don't have a strong economy. It's impossible to have a fair system for your middle classes if you don't
have a strong innovation in the current environment.
So I have to pass these reforms first and reveal a complete model. But that is not just a reform agenda. It's not a confirmation agenda, because
that's a huge shift in terms of mindset, in terms of current organization.
But the main difference with my predecessor is that 20 years ago, one of my predecessor tried to pass reforms with big demonstrations and was blocked.
But he didn't explain his reform during his campaign. He was not elected in this reform. I am.
AMANPOUR: Let me talk about Russia because that is the big elephant in the room. You said very clearly before the election I am not Russia's
MACRON: Yes, I confirm.
AMANPOUR: You did say that.
MACRON: I'm French candidate.
AMANPOUR: Yes, exactly. Marine Le Pen seemed to be very much in Russia's back pocket.
You took them on head-on when they tried to interfere in your election; when they tried to sully your reputation and the facts around yourself.
How - again, why did you decide to take that stand after you saw what happened here in the United States. Nobody stood and publicized what
Russia was doing even though it was kind of clear before the election. And how does one deal with a rambunctious Vladimir Putin.
MACRON: Look, I think Russia interfered in a lot of campaigns. Why? Because their strategy is to promote illiberal in a lot democracies. It
was fair. It was known. But I prefer to be very clear and I made a statement loud and clear during this campaign. I had very direct
discussion with Vladimir Putin about this issue.
And I was very clear with some of propagandas of the recent Democracies. But I prefer to be very clear and made statement loud and clear during this
campaign I had very direct discussion with Vladimir Putin about this issue.
And I was very clear with some of propagandists of the recent situation in my country about the situations. They are not journalist. They are making
propaganda, which is different.
Having said that, Russia is a partner. We have to work with Russia. It's impossible to fix the Syrian situation without Russia. It's very hard to
fix the North Korean situation without Russia. And Russia has to be respected given its place, its history and our relationship.
It's a member of the P5 so if you want to make -- if you want to make this global environment functioning, you have to deal Russia. And I think on
Syria, we can act together. That's important. On Syria, if you look at the situation --
AMANPOUR: Well, the Iranians think they've won. They think that they've won and --
MACRON: A few of them think they've won.
AMANPOUR: And that Assad has won militarily.
MACRON: And the situation is that our very top priority in Syria was and still is to win again Jihadists and terrorists. With the coalition and the
leadership of the U.S., we will win. I do believe.
So that's very important. And that's my first objective in Syria.
The second objective is to preserve the integrity of the country, to have a government and inclusive political solution for Syria.
I don't believe one second Bashar is a solution. Bashar has to leave. And Bashar is a criminal. We know that. And he has to respond on his crimes
about international courts -- in front of international court.
But what I decided to do is to discuss and negotiate with Turkey, with Russia, with Iran about the situation because today when you look at the
Syrian situation. The unique active process is the excellent process. And you don't have the U.S. around the table. You don't have Europe around the
table. You just have Turkey, Russia and Iran.
That's a huge defeat for all of us. So this process, which is just a military de-escalation process has to be completed by an active political
process in order to build this inclusive solutions and those are the conditions for future elections in Syria.
As for North Korea, we need discussion with Putin. Why? Because he's one of the two main players in the situation to have enact embargo on North
Korea and push them to be more compliant with our rules and the global situation.
And, today, we need to show a much more committed to the North Korean situation. And at the end, as for the Ukrainian situation, we have this
format with Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Poroshenko and we had several discussions with this format and I want us to progress into the
direction. So you have to discuss with Russia.
I do respect Vladimir Putin as a partner, but I refuse to accept any interference in our democracy because I don't interfere in Russian
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, a break from war and peace with a question about love. And who better to talk about that than the president
of France. That's next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a relationship subject to global scrutiny. Not France and the U.S., not France and Russia, but the marriage
of President Macron and his First Lady Brigitte.
It has become a global obsession given their age difference ever-present during his campaign. I discovered the power that the president every
endeavor takes with this story.
AMANPOUR: I would like to ask you if I say to you love, what does love mean to you? The world is actually obsessed right now with your marriage
and your relationship with your wife.
Tell us about it.
MACRON: Look, it's always had to speak about that because it's part of intimacy. Love is part of my life and my balance. And I do believe that
you don't build something great and you don't behave properly if you don't -- if you are not balanced. And as a strong couple, I've been with my wife
for a decade now. And she's part of me.
AMANPOUR: Is it important for a world leader to have that part of their life.
MACRON: At least for me it's very important. For me it's very important. For my personal balance, to have somebody at home telling you the truth
everyday because access to truth is one of the main challenge.
And somebody with her deep convictions and knowing you for what you are and loving you for what you are, not for what you represent and your role or
your honor and something very specific at a point of time.
So I know I chose her and we're together for as I told you decades. And that's very important to me because that's my anchor at the end of the day.
AMANPOUR: Your anchor.
AMANPOUR: President Macron, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
MACRON: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember you can listen to our podcast any time, see us online at Amanpour.com and you can always
follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and good bye from New York.