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Health Workers Advise People to Isolate Themselves; Italy Asks for U.S. Military Support; New York Now the Epicenter of the Outbreak in U.S.; Dr. Cornelia Griggs, Pediatric Surgery Fellow at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, is Interviewed About U.S. Medical System; Armed Conflict on Lockdown; Antonio Guterres is Interviewed About Global Ceasefire to Fight COVID-19; Coronavirus Rescue Package Fails; Interview With The Conduit Co- Founder Paul van Zyl; Interview With Tom Steyer. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired March 23, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour" from London. Here's what's coming up.
Lockdown must rule to battle the coronavirus and protect lives of health care workers. I speak to a doctor on New York's front line.
Also, ahead a divided America even over the government's economic rescue- package. I speak to the former presidential candidate, Tom Steyer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on true fight of our lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: My exclusive interview with the United Nations secretary- general. He is calling for a worldwide cease fire to help fight this pandemic.
Plus, Paul Van Zyl, co-founder of the Conduit Club for social philanthropy tells me about the crushing blow to the hospitality industry.
And finally --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is one of those times when I remember that New York is such a small town and people are willing to look out for one
another and have each other's backs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The invisible hand's lending help to those isolated and indoors.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Stay home. That is the message from world leaders and doctors around the globe as the coronavirus pandemic deepens. With over 300,000 cases now
worldwide, the appeals for the public to heed advice and isolate themselves are now coming from health workers, at great risk on front lines of this
emergency. Like this one, posted online from Northern Ireland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Claire. I'm a respiratory nurse. You can play your part to enable us to play ours. Please stay-at-home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Julian. A respiratory consultant. We all have a choice. If you choose to stay-at-home, you will save lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Meantime, Italy is asking the U.S. military for support according to a defense official and New York is now the epicenter of the
outbreak in the United States. Accounting for about half the diseases across the country. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city only has enough
medical equipment to get through this week unless it receives more help.
Dr. Cornelia Griggs is a surgeon and critical care specialist. She's at Columbia University's Irving Medical Center. And in a recent op-ed for "The
New York Times," she writes that the sky is falling and the cracks in the country's medical system are being splayed open like a gashing wound.
Dr. Griggs, welcome to the program. Thank you for joining us.
DR. CORNELIA GRIGGS, PEDIATRIC SURGERY FELLOW AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IRVING MEDICAL CENTER: Thank you so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, the sky is falling, Dr. Griggs. People like you who have been on front lines of emergency care are not given to panic. So, what are
GRIGGS: So, I titled that article "The Sky is Falling" because I'm not afraid if, in a few weeks, people call me an alarmist or if they say we
overreacted because if, in a few weeks, this turns out to have been an overreaction, it means we all did the right thing and no one in my life has
ever called me an alarmist before. I am trained to be cool in an emergency. In fact, I think of myself as someone who thrives in a crisis. But this is
different. And I think (INAUDIBLE) a lot of doctors across the country are scared and go to work in a way we've never been scared before.
AMANPOUR: Wow. It's hard to hear you say that because there you are and you heard your colleagues in Northern Ireland but out their PSA,
essentially, because people don't seem to be paying attention to this advice to stay home. It's really very difficult to get them to do that in
the democratic world, it seems. But your surgeon general in the U.S. says this week is going to get bad.
You heard your own mayor say, there may be enough for a week, maybe more of equipment to protect yourself and to treat people. What are you seeing
where you are right now?
GRIGGS: We are running critically low on PPE or personal protective equipment, specifically masks, and the safest kind of masks. Today, I've
been given one mask to wear for all of my procedures and all of my operations for the day and these are typically masks that I would dispose
of in between every procedure.
And we're expecting to need double the amount of masks that we're already using by next week and we're already using an enormous number. And our
masks are our only armor when we walk into the room of a COVID positive patient. It's the only thing potentially between us and getting sick from
the disease. So, it's a really alarming critical shortage.
Our hospital leadership is working tirelessly to solve this problem, and get more PPE for our health workforce, but we need everyone in the country
to rally around this crisis and help us look for creative solutions to our equipment shortage.
AMANPOUR: So, Doctor, and, you know, I really hate saying this because you are one of these people who are at risk but you see it in Spain, you've
seen in Italy, you've seen elsewhere reports that your tribe, your group of life savers are at greatest or very great risk of death. And yet, you keep
Do you think that you're going to make a difference that actually the government is going to, you know, step up and do what it has to do? Your
own governor has called for various industries to be nationalized to make masks, ventilators, all the other things. He's called out the Army Corps of
Engineers to transform the Javits Center in New York and other places as emergency, you know, thousand bed wards and fever clinics. Is that enough?
GRIGGS: Well, we absolutely need our state and federal government to treat this like the crisis that it is, but I also see this as a moment to change
our national ethos. Everyone who is at home is saving lives but it's not enough just to be at home. It's a moment to change our national ethos. We
need to come together as a country, as a globe to figure out how to hack this pandemic. Because we're very busy fixing broken bodies here at the
hospital and we're not going to be able to solve the problem alone.
AMANPOUR: You did retweet a rather desperate message from a mother, a doctor in New York and it said, NYC, mother of, two double front line MD
couple. Don't make us orphan, our two toddlers. Running out of masks, eye protection and gloves at work. I guess when you talk to people and you ask
them why aren't they staying inside, do they get the severity of this?
GRIGGS: I mean, I have had to read the Riot Act to some of my own family members to convince them that they must take this seriously, that the only
way our health care system has a chance, a remote chance of saving a many lives as possible is that people stay-at-home. And not just practice casual
social distancing but truly if you can, shelter-in-place.
AMANPOUR: And I guess, you know, that there are all sorts of other questions about who are the most vulnerable. And very -- you sort of
counterintuitively -- because we've been focusing a lot on the elderly who are the most vulnerable. We've been focusing on those with underlying other
medical issues. But in New York, it appears that the most vulnerable are, number one, males, and number, two males between the ages of 18 and 49.
This we didn't expect. What are your seeing?
GRIGGS: This virus does not spare the young and healthy. It just means because you're young and healthy you have a better baseline to start from
in terms of fighting the illness, but it's not a guarantee. I have a friend who is a marathon runner who is intubated. There is a cardiology trainee at
another New York hospital who is in critical condition. And at the hospital where I trained in Boston, there's another young healthy person in very
critical condition. Just because you're young and healthy does not mean you will be spared.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you also because people, people like those who you are coming in to contact with, want to know is there a vaccine? Well, we know
there isn't and we've been told by the experts that there won't be for another 18 months at least. But what about a so-called medical cure
available right now?
President Trump has talked about chloroquine, which is a prophylactic against malaria. It's something that we journalists take that regularly
when we go into war zones or elsewhere where there, you know, is malaria. And you see that flying off the shelf now and prices spiking.
What do you say to that? Because there are many doctors in France who say, yes, do this. But then others in the U.S., NIH, CDC who say that this
hasn't been tested. What do you say about suddenly the president delivering sort of a menu of currently available drugs to use?
GRIGGS: (INAUDIBLE) from the president or otherwise, please don't take your medical advice from Twitter. All of these treatments are still in the
experimental stage and we just don't know enough about this virus truthfully to be able to promise a cure to the American public, and I think
it's irresponsible to do so.
And what we need is companies that can help us build databases of trials and drugs that are being tested. Because our labs nationwide are also
decimated and working at a fraction of the workforce that they normally work at. I called a friend who is a virology PhD at 3:30 on Thursday last
week and he said, I'm the only one in the lab.
AMANPOUR: Oh, my goodness. And then, of course, here you all are and government leaders are talking about social distancing for the foreseeable
future, certainly months, if not longer. And the president has said that -- here's his tweet, we cannot let the cure be the worse than the problem
itself. At the end of a 15-day period, we'll make a decision as to which way we want to go. How do you assess that, 15 days? Is that enough to see
out this crisis?
GRIGGS: I think it's pretty implausible that this will be over in 15 days and I think it's hard to know how long this will go on for and the
uncertainty is one of the things that's most alarming about this pandemic and this crisis. But I'm not optimistic that we'll be out of the wood by
any means in 15 days.
AMANPOUR: And I want to ask you another thing. There are all sorts of articles from -- in very reputable news organizations that suggest that
those who are very, very rich and can pick and choose and either use private planes to flee, you know, contamination zone or call-up and get
medical experts and drugs and this and that, you know, and some doctors are apparently -- I mean, these are anecdotal. But nonetheless, some doctors
making a huge amount of money providing tests for those who can, you know, afford them.
You know, what do you say to that?
GRIGGS: I mean, there are a lot of people trying to make a dollar off of this and we've seen price gouging all around the city, people trying to
sell N95 masks for a ridiculous price. And shame on those people that are trying to make a profit off of this virus because I'm here at the hospital
with my other colleagues and health care workers, even the janitor is showing up every day at the hospital. We're doing everything in our power
to save lives and shame on you if you're at home trying to figure out how to, you know, take advantage of other people in this vulnerable time.
AMANPOUR: And finally, let me ask you because, you know, you are a certified surgeon, you are a critical care, emergency care specialist, but
you're also now in your last few months of qualifying as a pediatric surgeon. You've talked about, you know, your nights being -- part of your
night is to rush kids to -- with respiratory failure and others, tell me what you're seeing in these kids who need help that sort of mimics the
GRIGGS: Well, one of the really thing that's scary about this virus is that we've seen very different presentations. I've seen kids that seem
otherwise young and healthy who end up testing positive and we've seen others in very, very critical condition. But possibly, at least based on
data from other countries, one of the saving graces of this virus is that we don't see a lot of young children dying.
But like I said, all of the data is very preliminary. And we have seen children absolutely contract the virus and get sick. But in some cases, not
as critically ill as the adult population.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Griggs, we really do wish you an enormous amount of luck and good fortune. And I know you're going to be working really hard. Thank you
for interrupting your work day to talk to us and explain what's -- what you're facing.
GRIGGS: It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: Thank you. Dr. Cornelia Griggs there.
So, take this devastating crisis hitting rich democracies. And now, imagine the developing world with much less capable health care systems and then,
think about those nations at war like Syria and Yemen and the desperation there.
The U.N. secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, is calling for an immediate global ceasefire to fight COVID-19, saying, the true fight of our lives is
against the world's common enemy. And he joined me for an exclusive interview just after making this global public appeal.
Secretary-General Guterres, welcome to the program.
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: It's an enormous pleasure.
AMANPOUR: So, these are extraordinary times and you have done something, you know, very, very dramatic. I mean, you have called on the world,
certainly the warring parts of the world, to come to an immediate ceasefire against what you call a common enemy, which is this virus.
Tell me what you're doing and do you really have a hope that they will do so?
GUTERRES: Well, I sincerely hope so. Everybody knows that it is very bad when we have a war on two fronts. The front of the COVID-19 is enough. We
need to stop the other front, which is the conflicts that are ravaging around the world.
And all my special envoys in all the scenarios of conflict that we have will be working hard in order to create the conditions for the parties to
agree to ceasefires, to stop fighting and to allow for the COVID-19 to be dealt with in those very vulnerable areas of the world. We cannot allow
that the areas of conflict in which, obviously, the health systems have collapsed are areas where the virus will spread like wildfire because they
will have dramatic consequences not only for the people there but worldwide.
AMANPOUR: Secretary-General, in your speech, in your declaration, you have said, it is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on
the true fight of our lives. To the warring parties I say, pull back from hostilities, put aside mistrust and anonymity, silence the guns, stop the
artillery, end the air strikes. This is crucial.
Do you expect those countries to do so? Have you any hope? Have you discussed a face -- not face-to-face, but in diplomatic ways with the
leaders of Syria, you know, Iran, Libya, Yemen?
GUTERRES: We are already seeing in some of the scenarios the parties entering into dialogue to try to see how they can cooperate in relation to
the COVID-19. My hope is that this will be more generalized. And as I said, my special envoys will now be working hard in order to make sure that these
ceasefire appeal will be translated into effective diplomatic action in all areas and I hope that the G20 that will be meet soon will also be able to
address this issue and I hope the Security Council that will be meeting soon will also be able to address this issue.
AMANPOUR: Just quickly before I get on to the wider aspects that you've just mentioned. There's obviously great concern, not just in these
countries with collapsing health care systems, obviously, under war, but also in the refugee camps where people are living cheek by jowl often in
hugely unsanitary conditions, outside completely unprotected, whether it's in -- you know, Jordan, in Syria, in Greece or wherever it might be. How
concerned are you? Because we've heard refugee activists and organizations very worried.
GUTERRES: Extremely concerned. This will be one of the central aspects of our humanitarian appeal that we will launch on Wednesday, $2 billion to
support dramatic humanitarian consequences of the COVID-19 and the response to the COVID-19 in those dramatic situations.
And of course, UNCHR, U.N., refugee agency and IOM are working to put in place a plan of action. That's in very difficult circumstances in very
dramatic conditions. We'll do everything possible to prevent the virus to come to refugee camps and other displaced populations settlements. And at
the same time, to create the minimum of conditions to effectively fight the disease in those extremely difficult circumstances.
Can you imagine a Cox's Bazar, 1 million people in a very narrow area? Can you imagine Dadaab in Kenya? Can you imagine the situation in the Syrian
refugees? So, all of this is indeed an enormous concern and will be central in our appeal, humanitarian appeal and in our -- the mobilization of all
our response capacities in humanitarian action.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you very, very frankly. With all these world leaders, whether the United States, which is generally the leader of the
G7, whether it's right now Saudi Arabia, which is the current head of the G20, whatever country it is, these are the countries you're calling on to
help the most vulnerable, the refugees, et cetera.
But they are just trying to keep their head above water saving their own economies, propping up their own, you know, at risk health care systems
here in the West. In the rich West, in the developed world, they are trying to do that. Do you really believe that there is the head space and the deep
enough pockets for them to fork out for all those places that you just mentioned?
GUTERRES: I believe that enlightened self-interests will prevail. I'm not talking about everybody being extremely generous. I believe enlightened
self-interest. The developed countries themselves alone cannot defeat the COVID-19.
It's absolutely essential that they coordinate their actions, it's absolute essential that they adopt a strategy that is not only a strategy of
mitigation. If one looks at the graph and see the curve of the number of cases, we cannot only, I would say, bend the curve, we need to break it.
Which means that all countries need to work together, all developed countries need to work together, putting in place testing, tracing,
quarantine. And then, when that is not enough matters of lockdown, more rigorous or less, depending on the circumstances, but they need to do it
together in order to be able suppress the disease and to be able to then have an exit strategy.
But these will never work if the same is not in the developing world. Because if in the developing world, the disease is not suppressed it will
spread like wildfire. There will be millions of cases, millions of people dying. And with millions of transmissions, the virus might very well mutate
and come back to the developed world, and that will start again. And this is something we need to avoid at all costs. We need to suppress the virus
in the developed world and suppress the virus in the developing world.
And we need to mobilize trillions. I'm thinking about the economic and social consequences. They will represent two digits of the global economy
and two digits in each of the national economies. Now, it's true we see movement. We see in the West, we see in Europe, we see in China, we see the
mobilization of resources in line with these and I hope it will not to be only (INAUDIBLE) to financial sectors. Of course, we need liquidity in
financial sectors, we the need banks to work. But we need to address now the needs of people. This is a human crisis. We need to be able to support
those that lost their jobs or their salaries, the businesses that are going to close. We need to keep them afloat, households and businesses.
And of course, developed countries need to do it by themselves in their countries but they also need do it to mobilize the trillions that are
needed. And IMF is working hard to create the conditions to mobilize those resources, to mobilize the resources that are needed to allow the
developing world also to support economic and socially their own people.
If this is done in a combined way, if we mobilize international financial institutions, swaps amongst central banks, if we create the so-called
special drawing rights, increasing the volume of resources the IMF has. The IMF already has a lending capacity of $1 trillion. If we put international
financial institutions active. If we are -- if we look at the depth of citizens the same way we look at the depth of developing countries finding
difficulties. If you do all these, I think we can defeat the virus.
And my appeal to the leaders is, again, lack of self-interest. Let's fight the virus in each of our countries but let's create the conditions to fight
it everywhere because if not, the virus can strike back.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, Secretary-General, because you speak as the leader of the United Nations but you're also speaking, right now, as a
former chief executive. You were the prime minister of Portugal. Your country has put in quite a lot of these measures to protect their workers
But the real key question is, has the world shown any capacity for leadership? Where is the mobilization of the Security Council? What about
the G20? What about, you know, what we normally see in these big crises from the United States to Europe to China to Russia to all these places?
Leaders come together and try to fight it. And they just haven't done it right now. Everybody is flailing around, doing what they are trying to do
GUTERRES: I think your diagnostic is real. That's reality of today. But that is the reality we need change. And there is an opportunity this week,
the G20 meeting. The G20 represents 80 percent of the world economy. If the G20 come together and creates G20 coordinated mechanisms both to suppress
the virus and to support their economies and the economies of the rest of the world, I think we have all the conditions to win this battle.
The World Health Organization is working hard to create the conditions to support them and to guide them on this. We are creating with all our supply
chain capacities in our agencies and in our own secretariat a network able to support the world in getting the medicines, getting the ventilators,
getting the kind of protection outfits, getting the masks, getting the tests, and we are going to put that at the disposal of the G20 to support
those countries that don't that have capacity to do it by themselves.
AMANPOUR: All right.
GUTERRES: At the same time, I see the IMF totally committed. So, let's make sure that we create conditions for the countries to come together to
understand that alone they cannot do it but together they can do it, and it's the only way in which they can win.
GUTERRES: Stop the blaming game, create the understanding that now it's time to unite efforts and to do it in an articulated way.
AMANPOUR: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, thank you for joining me from New York.
GUTERRES: It was a pleasure.
AMANPOUR: So, we'll see whether world nations can come around together try to beat this. But they continue, right now, to scramble to save their own
economies and their workers, of course.
In Washington, a vote to advance a massive stimulus package failed again today in a party line process. Democrats say the proposed trillion-dollar
stimulus package fails to adequately protects workers.
Former Democratic candidate for president, Tom Steyer, says that the U.S. cannot afford to repeat past mistakes where these packages of protect
corporate profits over working families. And he's joining me now from Washington.
Tom Steyer, welcome to the program.
TOM STEYER, FORMER U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Christiane, it's nice to talk to you.
AMANPOUR: So, I'm actually quite glad that I have you to respond right now as this is happening because it just happened as we have been on the air
that yet again, the Democrats have voted against this and it has failed. Now, what do you say sitting there as a Democrat to the criticism that
people are going to level at you, hang on a second, this is an emergency, what are you doing? Why are politics being played?
STEYER: Well, Christiane, I think the Republicans are playing politics in the sense that it absolutely is a crisis. We absolutely do need to pass
this legislation. I would separate the legislation into two parts, the parts that deliver money directly to American citizens and American workers
that I think has to happen immediately, and the money that is delivered to American corporations.
And I think the argument is about the American corporations because, in fact, I believe the Republicans are playing politics with that. And if
you're going give billions and billions, hundreds of billions of dollars to American corporations, there should be some guardrails so that that money
is used to protect American workers and so that the government isn't picking winners and losers.
So, I think this is absolute critical that we do solve this critical problem. In the short run, we don't have any time to waste but we should do
it in a responsible way.
AMANPOUR: So, you're very concerned about, obviously, protecting the workers and, obviously, companies and businesses that hire workers and that
contribute and create the economy.
In the money that's been promised to workers, how does it work? Because France has guaranteed something like, you know, 12 percent of those who
make, what, that makes up 12 percent of the national economy. In Britain, a massive bill and massive plan by the chancellor here that protect some 15
percent of the economy and guarantees up to 80 percent of workers' salaries. What would the worker aspect of the U.S. proposal be?
STEYER: Well, the idea is to get money directly into the hands of people who are unemployed and to do it as fast as possible and to do it, you know,
across the board kind of like the universal basic income proposal that Andrew Yang made in the short run on a one time basis.
But, Christiane, that is absolutely critical. But I think it's equally critical, as you said, to make sure that the corporations continue to exist
but we're bailing out the worker of the corporations, not the stockholders of the corporations.
STEYER: And that, in fact, the money that we put into the corporations guarantees, in fact, that that money will be used to continue employment
and that it doesn't, in effect, be used just to support the corporate supporters of the Republican administration.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you then because, you know, you're making a point here, distinction that I think you say is a mistake that happened during
the financial bailout, you know, the program for the -- you know, that was there to help with the crash of 2008. You heard the secretary-general of
the United Nations say that world leaders must come together, like they did during the crash. And they had a much more coordinated joint response to
So, on one hand it was a coordinated response. On the other hand, in the U.S., you're saying that that time, it was way too much for corporations
against or rather at the expense of ordinary workers.
STEYER: Well, I don't think there's any question about it, Christiane. That, in fact, we bailed out banks, we did not bail out homeowners. We
bailed out corporations and stockholders, we didn't bail out workers.
And I think that, this case, it's absolutely a crisis. We have to get to yes. But we have to do it in a way that we actually take care of the most
vulnerable people, we take care of families, and we take care of working people, not just bailing out stockholders, at the expense of working
I think that's a critical point to get. And I think that that's what the Democrats are sticking up for, is the idea there are guardrails on this
money, so that, if a corporation is bailed out, it's really the working people of that corporation who are being bailed out, not the stockholders.
It's a critical point. And I think, you know, let's not forget as well that we have to deal with the medical emergency first. I know that Washington is
dealing right now with the economic crisis, and that's critical too. But we have to be on top of the medical emergency, because, first and foremost, we
have people getting sick and dying, and we are not responding effectively to that.
AMANPOUR: Tom Steyer, don't you think it's a chicken-and-egg situation as well, that you can only get the economy stabilized if you get the health
situation stabilized and under control? Would you agree with that?
STEYER: I absolutely agree with that, Christiane.
And that means it's not a chicken-and-egg situation, because, really, there is a sequence here where we have to first solve the medical emergency. And
that's the only thing, as you said, that will enable us to solve the economic emergency, so that, really, there's a sequence here where the
government has to -- and the federal government has not done a good job of this -- has got to deal with the medical emergency.
And, of course, we have to deal with this economic crisis at the same time, but if we're going solve the economic crisis, we have got to solve the
medical crisis first.
AMANPOUR: Well, you heard Dr. Cornelia Griggs at Columbia University Hospital there talk to me about the dire emergency, the medical emergency
that the patients, but also the health care workers, are facing right now.
A mask that she has to recycle through all her patients, you know, throughout an entire shift? I mean -- and that's just the basics. What
about protective gear, what about ventilators, what about all the what- abouts?
STEYER: Look, I -- every point that she made and that you're making is valid.
What we should be doing is using the Defense Production Act, which enables the president of the United States to insist that corporations go out and
produce necessary items for the health and safety of American citizens. And that hasn't happened.
And it absolutely should be happening, because we need more masks, we need more protective equipment, and we need more respirators. And we need them
urgently, and we should be -- have a coordinated countrywide effort to produce those as fast as possible, so that the health care system isn't
overwhelmed, as the number of people who are infected and the number of people who are dangerously infected spikes up.
There's no question about it.
AMANPOUR: So, in that vein, as you know, obviously, because you're there, governors around the United States are urging the president to do that, use
his declaration of this Defense Act, and to use the full force of the government to talk to private enterprises and everything to convert their
capabilities into this national emergency.
The president is not going there yet. He's so far saying, no, the private companies are doing what they need to do without government interference.
This is what he said about that on Sunday. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela. Ask them, how
did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, OK, so, deconstruct that for us. How can you compare Venezuela, which is about to go under for many, many other obviously --
obviously, different reasons, for total mismanagement of that country, to a national emergency, where we have seen in the past industries converted to
face the national emergency?
STEYER: You know, Christiane, what the president said was a dramatic misreading of our economy and our crisis.
I want to go back to 1941, when President Roosevelt, after the Germans and Japanese had declared war on the United States, insisted that the
automobile manufacturing companies in the United States produce no more passenger cars for the duration of the war, but turn their manufacturing
capability 100 percent over to the war effort and produce tanks and ships and planes.
And, in fact, that's exactly what they did. So, in a national emergency, that's exactly what this Defense Production Act is designed for, is to
force the manufacturers of the country not to do what they think is right, but to do what the president of the United States knows is necessary to
protect the health and safety of Americans.
And that's not nationalizing the car companies in 1941. I believe they are still independent, publicly traded companies. But it is insisting that they
use their capability for the health of the American people and the American nation. And it's absolutely appropriate now.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to ask you whether you think, because you're a businessman -- you're also, obviously, a information presidential
We will get that in a moment. But there are anecdotal and other evidence in Europe, for instance -- let's take the luxury brand LVMH. It converted a
number of its perfumeries into significant sanitizing gel factories for health care workers.
On the one hand, you know, it's kind of almost like a dual-use, but they also, a private company, used their own initiative, talked to the leader in
government, talked to the ministers on the front lines, got all the regulation and permissions to do it. And they did it.
From one week to next, this company produced 12 tons of sanitizer. And they are going to continue to do it. Do you see any such stepping forward,
independently of a federal order, by private companies in the United States?
STEYER: Look, I have seen a number of people who I know in business doing things like that.
Christiane, I have a friend who does new age manufacturing stepping up to try and manufacture respirators in a new way that is much faster and
But my point is this. It's -- bless them for doing that in France. Bless them. But when it comes to a national emergency, we can't rely on people's
goodwill. Everybody has to pitch in.
And that's why we have a national government, and that's the responsibility of the president to make sure that it's not just an act of goodwill by one
or two corporations and corporate leaders, but that, in fact, it's across- the-board movement.
In 1941, the car companies voluntarily offered to suspend 20 percent of their car manufacturing capability. And the president said, no, we want 100
percent. That's where we are now. We need leadership at the federal level to understand the scope of this problem and to respond forcefully and
successfully and lead the American people to understand that it's not just a problem, but that it's one we can overcome together with concerted
AMANPOUR: Now, obviously, as one doctor said, the most precious commodity is time. And with every day that passes, this situation gets worse.
I want to ask you about committing money to causes. Let's say -- you know, obviously, the health care and public health is a huge one. There have
been, you know, two billionaires who ran for the Democratic nomination, yourself and Michael Bloomberg. You spent about $300 million of your own
money, Mayor Bloomberg about $900 million, in this presidential campaign.
But, otherwise, you have also spent tens of billions of dollars on climate, and Bloomberg on health and guns and education, all those other things.
Would your money have been better spent, rather than running for president? And how do you see your future in this regard right now?
STEYER: Well, Christiane, I'm not sure if you know, but I started one of the largest grassroots organizations in the United States, NextGen America,
which has been around for eight years, organizing, registering voters, talking to voters, turning out voters.
In 2018, NextGen America did the largest youth voter mobilization in American history. As far as -- and it's continued throughout my
presidential campaign, although I couldn't run it, because they had to be separated. I continued to fund it and I continue to fund it today.
As far as I'm concerned, when I think about -- and coronavirus is a perfect example, but so is climate. So is health care. We need a sea change in
American politics and American leadership.
That's what I believe. When I was describing what we needed to do in coronavirus, really, what I was saying is, we need scientifically based
leadership, data-driven leadership with an awareness of the needs of the health and safety of the American people.
And this is a political issue, straightforwardly. So, the money I have spent from yours to try and enable the broadest possible democracy to
support progressive candidates. I did it right through my campaign. I continue to do it today. It'll be bigger than it's ever been in 2020.
And that's the kind of effort that I believe in, broad democracy, registration, engagement and turnout of the most people, particularly of
the parts of the country, the citizens who don't -- who believe that the system is broken and are not participating at the same level as other
AMANPOUR: Tom Steyer...
STEYER: And that's, dramatically, young people and people of color.
AMANPOUR: It's clear, as the doctor said at the beginning of our program, that this terrible emergency has exposed some of the terrible gashes in
public -- in the public sphere in America, particularly the health system.
How do you think coronavirus is going to affect the presidential campaign? I mean, you know, what's going to happen? How do you see the next few
months playing out, before the November election?
STEYER: Well, look, I think we're going to go through a horrible health situation. We're in it. There's no way to avoid it at this point,
I think we're going to have -- go through a very, very difficult, sharp downturn. And I don't think there's any way to avoid that at this point.
I think, in terms of the presidential election, it's increasingly clear that Joe Biden is going to be the candidate.
And you can see how differently he would have treated this crisis, how differently he sees this crisis, and how much better off we would have been
with a president who's data-driven, who believes in science, who's organized, and would get the best people in the country in a room to deal
right off the bat with this, would not have defunded the Center for Disease Control, would not have defunded efforts to create vaccines, but, in fact,
would have done the kind of sober, confident job that we need in a president of the United States.
And I believe that's what the American people are going to see, that contrast between the people running and really a Democratic Party that not
only is closer to the American people and their needs, but also is driven by data, and willing to make the kind of transformational change in health
care, but also in climate, in terms -- are really willing to look and -- look forward and do what it needs to be for America to go forward in a safe
and prosperous way.
I think that there's going to be a very dramatic choice in terms of presidential leadership. And I think Joe Biden is going to shine when that
comparison is made.
AMANPOUR: So, you have just endorsed him, correct?
STEYER: Look, I have always said, Christiane, that I will support the Democratic candidate.
And it is increasingly obvious...
AMANPOUR: But you just keep talking about Joe Biden. Are you endorsing him?
STEYER: Well, I think, at this point, it's increasingly clear that he's the candidate.
And I'm just trying to figure out how best to support the Democrats and Joe Biden, who is going to be the candidate.
AMANPOUR: Got it.
Tom Steyer, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us tonight.
STEYER: Christiane, it's a pleasure to talk to you again.
AMANPOUR: My next guest works in one of the industries which has been decimated by this shutdown, and that is hospitality.
Here in the U.K., life, in so many Western nations, the service industry amounts to a huge percent of the economy.
Paul van Zyl is co-founder of London's Conduit Club. It's a venue for social philanthropy to spur solutions to some of the world's most pressing
issues. The Club has laid off 160 employees since the crisis began.
Paul, welcome to the program.
And, of course, we have to start with my full disclosure that I'm a founding member, because I believe in the conduit nature to solve these
pressing problems that Tom Steyer has been talking about.
Tell me first, you're sitting at the interface of the hospitality and this crisis. Just describe what's going on in London and for you at the Conduit
PAUL VAN ZYL, CO-FOUNDER, THE CONDUIT: Well, thank you very much Christiane.
I'm actually sitting in the library at the Conduit. It's a 40,000-square foot building. And there are two of us in the building right now. In
ordinary times, we would have had 700 or 800 people walk through the door.
We have 3,600 members. We do 250 events a year looking at climate change, economic opportunity and job creation, health, wellness and nutrition,
women's empowerment. And we try to bring together a group of people tackling some of the world's most pressing problems.
And if you had said to me that, on Friday night, the government would have issued an order forcibly closing and both The Conduit Club, but also
restaurants and pubs and bars and other elements of the hospitality industry, and we would be sitting -- I would be sitting here in an empty
building, it would have been unimaginable.
And if you sort of zoom out and think that, in the hospitality industry, there are over three million workers in the U.K., larger than aerospace,
automobiles and pharmaceutical put together -- and this is a vital, vital industry and one that has been closed, quite appropriately so, given the
scale and the scope of the challenge.
But it's been surreal, to say the least.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you this, because Boris Johnson is addressing this nation again ,and people expect there to be even more draconian and
severe lockdown procedures.
But what exactly -- because we have seen the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, come out on Friday, and pledge, as I said earlier in the
program, a massive package to workers, pledging to support wages up to about 80 percent, up to about 2,500 pounds per month.
Surely, your workers are protected?
VAN ZYL: Well, actually, if you -- you have to give credit where credit is due. I think the chancellor has announced a fairly thorough and thoughtful
set of policies.
And the worker-support program announced on Friday, which will provide up to 80 percent of workers' income, up to a cap of 2,500 pounds a month, has
enabled us to offer a furlough package to almost all of our workers. And that means that our staff and our team, when this crisis is over, will be
able to return to work, and we will not have designated this incredibly skilled, highly talented group of people.
And the holidays on VAT and on rates is really, really important. A loan -- set of loan packages that might be available in the days ahead to help
businesses bridge this unprecedented economic cataclysm is very, very important.
And just breaking news, Christiane, I am told, and I hope that I can -- it can -- it will be confirmed in the minutes ahead -- was that the chancellor
has announced that there will be a rent moratorium for the next three months.
And that was something that this week was a looming crisis for tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of small businesses in the hospitality
sector, who were due to pay rent this week, and who had had their basic income completely decimated by the forcible closure.
AMANPOUR: Yes, what would that have meant for you? I mean, that's a pretty big breaking news. And I know you and others have been very concerned about
the absolute legal demands to pay your rent to your commercial landlords.
So if you're getting a break on, that's clearly great. What might you have had to do? What would have happened if you had not had that break or if it
doesn't get announced?
VAN ZYL: Well, we would have been in a very, very perilous position.
And, as I say, thousands and thousands of other hospitality businesses would have been facing the cliff edge of rent in a couple of days. And they
would have had to make very hard choices around going into administration, declaring bankruptcy, not being able to continue.
And you sometimes have to rely on the goodwill of landlords or the reasonableness of landlords. And not all landlords are thoughtful. Not all
landlords are going to take a long-term view about their tenants.
And so, therefore, thankfully, the government has stepped in and provided this breathing space. And we have been a thriving business. For the first
two months of this year, our businesses beat all of its forecasts and has been both achieving its kind of profit objectives, but also its deep social
And so to go from success to be at the edge of a cliff is something that has been -- is terrifying. But I think, today, we can begin to see that
there will be some degree of closure, and in 12 to 16 weeks, when we begin to emerge from this period, we will be able to put things back together.
AMANPOUR: Well, that would be a huge -- huge development, if in fact that does get announced.
Do know when it might get announced?
VAN ZYL: We're told that it's being announced as we speak. I have been on the phone with people from Hospitality U.K., who've done an incredible job
on lobbying on behalf of the industry.
And, literally, just before I came on your show, started getting texts. We have seen it from the BBC's business editor. We have seen it from the head
of Hospitality U.K.
So I think there are reasonable grounds to believe that this is accurate. And, if it is, I think all of us will be sighing a tremendous sigh of
AMANPOUR: Well, just to repeat what all the economic experts have said on this show and in many others, that, unless the work force and
businesspeople like yourself are, in, fact protected for these few months of crisis, it's going to be really hard, if not impossible, to actually get
the economy back on track in any kind of smooth way after the crisis subsides.
But can I ask you also, because we started by saying that The Conduit Club particularly is a venue for bringing people together who can try to solve
big, big societal issues. We talked about climate. There's the inequality gap, many things.
But you have also had to now creatively figure out what to do with yourself and your group in this crisis. And I think you have come up with a plan to
help some of the most critical needed, right, on the health care front lines?
VAN ZYL: Yes, exactly.
I mean, our doors are closed. We are physically closed. But we sat down and took a hard look and said, what are the assets that we have? We have 3,600
members who are passionate about positive social change. And if you think what's about to hit this country, Christiane, a wave of people who are
critically ill pouring into hospitals, where there is insufficient critical care facilities.
And the group of people who literally stand between life and death are the front-line NHS workers, who are working extraordinarily long hours, really
at the front lines of this really important battle.
And, so, we have done some work with the Royal Marsden Hospital, the U.K.'s premier cancer hospital, does 75,000 treatments a year, and, in partnership
with Ralph Lauren, have really showcased their work through our podcasts and through our events.
And I received a phone call from the CMO of Ralph Lauren here in the U.K., and said that she had heard from the Royal Marsden that health care
workers, who ordinarily knock off at between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m., and who are therefore able to go to Tesco or Sainsbury's and get themselves some
food for themselves and their families, were now working extraordinarily long shifts.
They were missing the stores' opening hours, and, if they could get to a store often finding that there wasn't food on the shelves, and essentially
said, if we provide some supports, can you get The Conduit helped galvanize an effort to try and provide healthy meals to front-line health care
And, to be honest, that presents a bit of a dilemma, because we're closed, and we have been forced to be closed by Friday. But I picked up the phone
to Tom Molnar, the CEO of Gail's kitchen, and I -- Gail's Bakery.
And I said, there are a group of people who are in need. We need to get about 1,000 meals to them by Monday. Recall, this was Saturday. And can you
do it? He didn't pause for a second and said, yes, we can.
And I'm really, really excited to say that, as of three hours ago, 1,000 meals were delivered to the Royal Marsden workers both in Chelsea and in
Sutton, and we are going to keep going. And we are going to activate our community.
We're going to see if we can get to all 4,000 front-line NHS workers at the Royal Marsden in both facilities to get them healthy meals. And we're going
to try and do which the thing that I think is really necessary at this moment, because, if you think about it, Christiane, what this virus has
done is, it's forced us to be a part as citizens.
It has caused us to socially distance and self-isolate. And that may be necessary for public health reasons. But it can't stop us from coming
together, from collaborating, from networking, and from supporting those people who are most vulnerable, because, as small businesses, we may be
But we're nowhere close to as vulnerable as people who are critically ill. And health care workers in particular need our support now.
AMANPOUR: Well, that is The Conduit in action, actually. I mean, that is social philanthropy at work. And that's really, really uplifting.
Paul van Zyl, thank you very much, indeed.
VAN ZYL: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: And, finally, along these lines, look at these beautiful, yet eerie photographs from capitals around the world.
Quarantine, social distancing, self-isolation, all those protocols have turned our most bustling cities and famous landmarks into ghost towns.
But what you don't see the kinds of things that Paul van Zyl was talking about, the invisible hands reaching out across those empty streets to help
those most in need, like young New Yorker Liam Elkind, who set up Invisible Hands with his friends.
It's a group of volunteers who deliver groceries and medicines to elderly New Yorkers and to those who are most at risk. In the deepening outside
bloom, inside, warmth, light and love are rising.
And that is it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media.
Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.