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Life Under Lockdown; Fight for Gender Equality; Andy Murray, Three- Time Grand Slam Winner, and Billie Jean King, Former Tennis Champion, Founder, Women's Tennis Association, Are Interviewed About Gender Equality and Sports; How Strategic Leadership Can Lead Us Through This Crisis; Interview With Ken Burns; Interview With Former CIA Director David Petraeus. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 1, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAVANDERA: -- 2,000 people. And there have been more than 200 cases reported over the last couple of days. So, when you do the math on that it
is -- and city officials are concerned that there is no sign of the virus slowing down, the spread of the virus slowing down. And there's also a
great deal of concern, as we have done some reporting on in the Gallup, New Mexico area, about the toll that it is taking on the medical resources
there in that small community.
So, Gallup, New Mexico, just west of the Albuquerque, New Mexico area, it's a bit of a remote area, not incredibly small town but you can imagine that
in a place with 22,000 people that the medical resources are not capable of withstanding the onslaught of so many coronavirus patients. So, the
governor there and the city officials are very concerned about how all of this is unfolding and that's why they say they're taking these dramatic
steps and announcing them today. Brooke?
BALDWIN: Got it. Ed, thank you.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
Looking ahead to life after lockdown. When can we attend large public events again? My exclusive joint interview with two of the greatest
sporting champions, spanning generations and genders, Billie Jean King and Andy Murray.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER COMMANDER COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN: You live and die by metrics just like as we did in the combat
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: David Petraeus on how a clear strategy and clear communication can lead us through this crisis.
And later --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN BURNS, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: History doesn't repeat itself. But as Mark Twain has supposed to have said, it rises.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: America's history teacher, filmmaker, Ken Burns, aiming to unite the nation through shared stories.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour working from home in London.
As local and national governments around the world wrestle with reopening their economies, some of the most popular businesses like music and sports
face particular risk. Here in Britain, for instance, a new survey shows that two-thirds of those polled feel uncomfortable returning to large
public gatherings. And in the United States, less than 1 in 4 would head out to a major sporting event if restrictions were lifted tomorrow.
Tennis great, Roger Federer, sees opportunity in this crisis that goes to the very heart of gender equality on court, particularly right now given
how this pandemic exacerbates the gender issue off court. More women are on the front lines of this coronavirus response as essential workers.
Meanwhile, women also apparently are losing more jobs than men overall and they are suffering more abuse at home under lockdown.
Now, our first guest tonight, in an exclusive joint interview, are perfectly placed to discuss equality in their sport and, of course, a lot
more. Tennis legend, Billie Jean King, is a giant in the fight for gender equality in every arena. And three-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic
champion, Andy Murray, is unabashed champion for women's rights as well, on and off the court. And they both join me now.
Welcome to this program. We're delighted to have you to talk about this crisis that we are living through. But particularly, as I describe, how it
affects the world's most loved events, sporting events.
So, first, can I ask you, Billie Jean, I asked you not too long ago how you're doing under lockdown. I think you said it was -- you know, gives you
a chance to reflect, gives you a chance to rest up from a punishing and grueling worldwide, you know, travel schedule.
So, I want to ask Andy as a finely tuned champion machine right now, what is it like to be, you know, off work and off the court?
ANDY MURRAY, THREE-TIME GRAND SLAM WINNER: I don't know about finely tuned. I have had my fair of breakdowns over the last few years.
But yes, look. It's been tough obviously. Tough for everybody just now. But it's -- it has also has given us the opportunity to, you know, spend time
and a lot of time at home with my family, which with my job and the traveling that we usually do, I don't always get that opportunity. So,
that's been really nice and challenging at times trying to, you know, teach and educate my children, which, you know, our teachers usually do that for
us. It's been hard as well.
But I've enjoyed large parts of it. It's been quite special to have this time with my family as well. But, obviously, yes, tough not to just be able
to go out and socialize and do things aside from the tennis and sport which obviously is an important part of our life. There's, you know, just living
really and going out to restaurants and, you know, having your usual freedoms and not having them has been tough.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, Billie Jean, because not only have you been a champion for so many years but you understand very, very, you know, well
the psychology of what it takes to keep up your game face, so to speak. How do you think the younger generation of players are coping and how it might
affect them post-lockdown when you can get back to tournaments and the kind of rigorous training that goes into that?
BILLIE JEAN KING, FORMER TENNIS CHAMPION, FOUNDER, WOMEN'S TENNIS ASSOCIATION: Well, I think when they do get back to play, we're going to
find out. But right now, it is a great time to meditate, to -- actually, if you have some nigglies or injuries, to let mem heal. A lot of times players
are under the gun to keep playing for the rankings and whatever. So, this is a chance to heal.
And also, I think to think about what it means to be the best you can be and that is, I'm real big on the mental, emotional and physical. And I
think the greatest players in the world have always been -- it doesn't matter what generation. They have been the strongest emotionally. And I
don't think a lot of times of players with those, like they are mental or emotionally enough, because mental is what you think, emotional is what you
So, I take some time to maybe talk to a psychologist about that. But I think it's really, really important to have reflection time. And also, what
are your new goals? You have to come out of this. It is going to be different and you have to adapt.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, you have led me into the sort of headline of what I sort of introduced before welcoming you on. So, reflect an adapt.
So, I want to ask you, we mentioned that Roger Federer has put out a feeler, maybe it is a trial balloon, I don't know, but it's about the idea
of combining the women's and the men's tour. So, let me just read the tweet and get you both to talk about it. So, a few days he said, just wondering,
am I the only one thinking that now is the time for men's and women's tennis to be united and come together as one?
Andy Murray, you're a male player. What did you make of Roger Federer saying that now? What do you think he means and what might be the result of
MURRAY: Well, I'm assuming it's something -- I'm not on the ATP player council just now but I'm assuming it's something they may have been
discussing over these last few weeks and months about the possibility of the ATP and the WTA merging.
This is something that obviously Billie Jean has been -- well, wanting to happen for 40, 50 years. You know, she is the one that had the vision for
all of this, and, you know, we need to remember that. But I think it's great if more of the male players are seeing it as a positive step for the
sport. I think we have a very unique sport in that we have the men and the women competing at the biggest competitions together. That doesn't really
happen in any of the other global sports, and I see that as a big positive.
We have equal prize money at those events, which I think is fantastic and I think that's very attractive to sponsors, to the audience. We have pretty
much a 50/50 kind of audience split between men and women, which, again, is rare across sports. And I think all of these things are things that we
should be celebrating in the sport. And, you know, sometimes they aren't and there's a lot of in-fighting that goes on with these things and I don't
think that should be the case.
There's obviously going to be some issues, potentially with a merger, as well, but, you know, it is definitely I think a step in the right direction
to start these conversations.
AMANPOUR: So, you obviously agree with it. Some of the other top tennis players on the male side do too, Rafael Nadal. But Nick Kyrgios opposes it.
I want to ask you, Billie Jean, because obviously I wanted to get you on this. You have spent your whole career, you know, blazing that trail for
equality, and you did start out wanting both tours to somehow get together. Are you pleased that this is happening now? Do you see just opportunity or
any pitfalls? How do you view this floating publicly by Roger Federer, of something you have been lobbying for, for decades?
KING: Well, I'm thrilled that Roger brought it because when top male players bring something up, people listen. And I did have a chance to talk
with Roger and we talked about it and he said the reason he even thought about this was because he finally had some space and time to reflect and
think about the sport.
But what tennis people have to understand, this isn't -- we need to get along and we need -- we're much stronger, much stronger, as Andy said, if
we're together, from sponsorship, to opportunities and we can grow. But what we have to understand is we have to stay together as a sport. Because
we're not competing within our sport like a lot of tennis people think. Our job is to be together. So, we need to compete against the other
entertainment and other sports.
I don't think people realize, you know, we are in this business. And so, I think it's very important that we are together, that we're not an
acquisition. The WTO would not be an acquisition. You know, would be a full partner in this drive to make our sport better and more valuable.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, that's really interesting the way you put that because, obviously, there's also amongst some of the pioneering women in the sport,
some concern that this might be really great but it also might yet again, if it's an acquisition and not a business merger on equal terms, it might
frame the women's game within, again, a male construct.
Do you see, both of you I want to ask you, but you, Billie, is there a way to do this without getting subsumed by it?
KING: Well, I think that the ATP and the WTA and everyone's been talking right now to try to help with COVID-19, and we've been talking for quite a
while on certain issues through the years. But I must say, the leadership of both are much more interested in combining a partnership. So, I think
anything's possible if we stayed positive and work through each point by point by point like you always do in negotiations. But can you imagine how
strong we would be if we negotiate as one voice? Cha-ching.
AMANPOUR: On that cha-ching note, Andy Murray, certainly, some in the male -- well, in men's tennis are concerned they wouldn't get as maybe much cha-
ching, so to speak. Do you see any struggle from other men in your sport to try to get this done? Because I presume you want to see it done.
MURRAY: Yes. I mean, yes. Definitely, there's some potential for that. I mean, I have had sometimes conversations in the past when there's been
prize money increases within a sport where, you know, let's say the first round loser's check has gone, you know, from the men went from like $8,000
to $10,000 and the women's went from $6,000 to $10,000, and I spoke to some of the male players about that who were unhappy because the prize money was
And I said, well, would you rather there was no increase at all? And, you know, they said to me, yes, actually. And I was like, well, you know that's
some of the sort of the mentalities that you are working with in these discussions where someone would rather make less money just so they're not
on an equal footing with some of the female players. So, there will be some challenges.
But look, I think when you have obviously a lot of the top male players now starting to discuss and talk about it, that's definitely very promising.
You know, but I think, you know, it is really important, I think, in these negotiations that, you know, coming to this sort of key decision makers
right now in tennis, pretty much all of them are men. And I think that when these discussions happen, it's quite important not just to see this merger
through like a man's eyes and to bring more women into the decision-making positions so that everybody's voice gets heard and everybody gets protected
in these discussions.
And I think if that happens, you know, we have a huge potential as a sport to make -- I already think it's a very special sport because of what we
already have, but I think it could be even better.
AMANPOUR: Billie Jean, just quickly, that's really an important point, to make sure that women are at the table, obviously. But just quickly, if you
can, in the potted version of the original nine, when you basically forced an issue and you made, you know, women's professional tennis a reality.
KING: We have fought so hard, people have no idea, to get to where we are right now. And as Andy said, if we don't have more women who are in
decision-making positions, it won't be probably as even. But there's a lot of men, just like Andy, who believe in us. I find that men who have
daughters, like Andy has two daughters and a son, Roger and I talked about it, he has two daughters and two boys.
So, it's possible -- it's all possible, but we have to keep the vision. You always have to keep the vision. Like when we had the nine of us and we
signed a $1 contract with Gladys Elman, we had no idea what was going to happen. Gladys went and got a sponsor. We had no infrastructure. Three
months later, we had to start our tournaments. We all went out and we made it happen. But we can all do this if we just work together for our sport
and realize we're in -- we have to stay together so we can compete in this world of entertainment.
I think tennis people always gone inside so much and worried about the factions, you know, winning over this one within tennis and we are not the
biggest sport in the world but we are unique, like Andy said, that we have -- can have men and women. And from a PR point of view, I think that is a
huge plus because the world is going towards equality, slowly, slowly every generation. But every generation has to continue to fight to for this. And
I think the timing is just right because we have space, we're not playing tournaments.
And with Roger bringing it up and Nadal agreeing, that hasn't always been the case, but Andy's always, always been in there for us and championed,
you know, the game in so many ways and he understands so much about everything really. I can tell listening to him. That we just have to find a
way to make this merger happen. And it will -- people won't realize how much good it will do.
AMANPOUR: So, let me just follow up with you, Andy, on that because, you know, without wanting to, you know, burnish you with a halo, many women in
the sport do look up to you with -- you know, with thank, I guess, for being a big, big champion.
And I wonder is it because your mother was such an influence on you as your coach growing up? And obviously as your mother, that you were the first
male professional player to have a female coach, Amelie Mauresmo. Obviously, as Billie says, you have two girls. What is it that's kind of
made you see the need for fairness and a level playing field?
MURRAY: Yes. I mean, that really started when I got a female coach actually. Because when I came up on to the tour, I never saw any female
coaches around. That was not, to be honest, something that I thought about doing. I just seen male coaches on the tour and just assumed that I should
also have a male coach. And then, it was actually Darren Cahill, who is an Australian coach working with Simona Halep, one of the best female players
in the world just now. He suggested, you know, why not look at a female coach?
And when he said it, I thought, yes, of course, why not? You know, I was coached my mum when I was young and I had a very good relationship with
Olga Morozova, who Billie Jean might know. She took me on a couple of trips when I was very young and I always got on very well with her too.
And then when I did then employ a female coach, I realized, you know, this isn't how it normally is. You know, every time I lost a match my coach was
getting blamed for it. And I never had that with any of my previous coaches. And Amelie Mauresmo was a former world number one, a Grand Slam
champion, fantastic player, extremely qualified to coach. And that was when I realized there was -- you know, this was a problem and you start to see
it more and more. And that was when I started to talk to my mom a little bit more about it. She's someone who's been inspired, I think, by Billie
And yes, I started to take more of an interest in it and see that it was an issue that needed to -- you know, to be resolved within the sport, and that
was really where it kind of started for me.
AMANPOUR: So, let me just get back to the COVID issue, because you are also -- I think both of you are interested and working on trying to support
some of the lower ranked players who are not as well off and not as OK during this complete shutoff of this sport. I mean, many people don't know
it is not just the famous names, it's so many, you know, hundreds of other players who live, I guess, from hand to mouth, tournament to tournament and
they don't have the wherewithal.
So, what are you doing to try to help their kitty? Andy, let me ask you first.
MURRAY: Well, I mean, the ATP have set up a tennis player relief fund to help the players ranked between 200 and 700 in the world, obviously, are
not, you know, making any money just now, like all of the players, but, you know, are not able to support themselves. So, I think that was a positive
initiative. But there's also been some resistance to that from some players, as well. You know, but I, yes, have given some money to that fund
to try to help some of the tennis players.
And, you know, hopefully, there might -- you know, in a few months' time, you know, there might be some events that is we can put on as well to help
raise some more money for those players because, you know, they will be the ones feeling it the most just now. And the players ranked in that ranking
bracket will also be the future of our sport as well. There will be some young players coming through just now that will go on to be Grand Slam
champions and the number one top 10 players in the world.
So, yes, it's important that we try to support those players now in any way that we can.
AMANPOUR: And Billie Jean, on the issue of, for instance, Serena Williams, who is trying to beat the record of Margaret Court in Grand Slams, you just
tweeted this week a really sweet picture of when you first met Williams sisters 32 years ago.
Just quickly. What does this time out mean for that kind of dream? You know, could that put pay to it, yet another year?
KING: Well, you look at it two ways. I think you have to look at it as a positive and that you have to figure out what you need to do. If I were
Serena, the one thing when you're an older player, is you have to be more fit than you ever thought possible.
I played until I was 40. And I remember sometimes playing against the player that was half my age or two times their age is still less than I
was. So, you have to be extremely, extremely fit. And if I were Serena with this time off, I would enjoy my baby daughter and my husband but I also
would be absolutely, just from a physical point of view, just driving myself and being absolutely disciplined to be so fit when I'm -- so, when
the tournaments start up again, you definitely can be ready.
But I think that's the most important thing for Serena. Because once she starts playing matches, she is amazing. And, of course, Andy played mixed
with her. So, he knows well how wonderful --
AMANPOUR: Yes. Exactly. Yes. And I want to ask Andy as well, how do these cancelations affect your career and, you know, your level?
MURRAY: Well, so the last match I played was in the middle of November. So, you know, I haven't played a match for six months and haven't actually
hit a tennis ball for the last six weeks. So, I have been at home.
But I have no idea really and I don't think many of the players do know how it will affect them. I've tried to use the time to get myself in the best
shape possible, to try and get my hip stronger. I have had multiple operations on that hip. So, I'm trying to give that more of a chance to
heal but also to get stronger as well. And I'm physically in really good shape. I've been able to use the bike and I have some weights at home which
has helped. And yes, I'm just trying to get myself in really good shape so that, you know, when we do get the opportunity to play again, my body's
AMANPOUR: And in the meantime, as you say, you're being -- you are staying with your family. This particular Instagram contribution has gone quite
viral. It's showing you in your Instagram post, when your daughters want you to play dress up and put on a skirt, I tried to explain it was a kilt,
not a skirt but they assured me it was definitely a skirt, and there's the picture of you in your skirt.
MURRAY: Yes. Yes. They won that argument. They win most arguments with me, my daughters, they're four and two. But yes, they've already got me wrapped
around their finger. So, yes, it is fun. You know, they're the sort of things that you get up as a dad when you're at home. But they actually said
to me -- they were (INAUDIBLE) on all morning and then when I did put it on, they just said, oh, daddy, you look silly. Take it off. But anyway --
AMANPOUR: Well, win or losing or whatever.
KING: I wrap my finger around my dad too. So, I get it. I know where they're coming from.
AMANPOUR: Yes, it's good. Fantastic.
KING: But it's so important when the fathers believe in their daughters as much as their sons.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's -- this is brilliant. Billie Jean King, Andy Murray, thank you so much for being with us today. Really great.
KING: Thanks, Christiane.
MURRAY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And now, our next guest is General David Petraeus, who led troops in Iraq during the 2003 was and later also coalition forces in
Afghanistan. He then went on to lead the CIA and is now global chair of the New York investment firm, KKR.
So, he is well placed to know what makes a good strategic leader and whether wartime lessons can be applied to fighting a pandemic. He talks to
our Walter Isaacson about it.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: General David Petraeus, thank you for so much for joining us.
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER COMMANDER COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN: Great to be with you. Thanks, Walter.
ISAACSON: You have talked often about the principles of strategic leadership. What are those principles and how do they apply to this case?
PETRAEUS: Well, I think there are four tasks of a strategic leaders. And in this setting, certainly the strategic leaders would include the
president, those in Congress, the fed and the governors as well given a federal system that we have.
And the four tasks to get the big ideas right. And by and large, I think that there has been convergence around these big ideas about what to do
even as we are racing to develop a vaccine and a therapeutic treatment. Second, to communicate the big ideas and the progress in implementing them
to the population so that they know the status, they know what we still need them to do and they know how to go about activities as safely as is
To oversee the implementation of the big ideas is the third task and this involved everything from the metrics, which have to be absolutely
forthright and grounded in data, the example that's provided, the energy, the inspiration, the driving of the campaign plan which would include,
first and foremost I think, the dramatic increase in testing and the dramatic increase required in contact tracing.
And then the final task that is sometimes overlooked which -- and generally formally has to be done, which is to sit down and determine how the big
ideas need to be refined, augmented, whatever, so they can to do it again and again and again. Because we're going to learn from the early
experiences of states that are beginning to take small steps back to economic recovery and we're going to learn whether or not they should do
that even if they haven't had the 14 days of the down trend that is a feature of the White House proposal and one of the governors and Harvard.
So, that's the process, I think, of strategic leadership. And I think that, again, having arrived at these big ideas, the challenge now is to make sure
that everyone understands them, that you have sort of a relentless communication of what these big ideas are and then an even more relentless
oversight of the execution of them.
ISAACSON: You talk about relentlessly communicating with clarity. Do you think we've been effective at communicating clearly about things like
should you wear a mask, how do you get testing, what type of testing we need to do or do you think there are ways to improve the single messages we
should be trying to get out?
PETRAEUS: Well, I think there's always room for improvement in whatever endeavor you're engaged in. I'm sure that we will look back and see that
there have been cases where there have been deviations from the single- minded emphasis on the steps that need to be taken, while also acknowledging, Walter, that in a federal system that has 50 states with big
differences between them, in a number of situations, I mean, the dispersion of the population in a western state compared with the density of that
population, say, in Southern New York and New Jersey is very, very striking. And, therefore, there will be some differences in how the
reduction of the restrictions plays out.
ISAACSON: So, what message should the American people take from the fact that the president has said he won't wear a mask, the vice president didn't
wear it at the hospital?
PETRAEUS: Well, I hope the message is not that they shouldn't wear a mass income a public place. That, for example, if you're riding the subway in
New York or on crowded streets should they become crowded again or in other situations where you can't maintain the physical distancing that we have
all now memorized at six feet or further, that you shouldn't actually do what it is that they are doing, perhaps ideally I hope founded on some data
that they're being tested frequently and there's enormous safeguards and the rest of this.
But at the end of the day, again, strategic leaders get paid to provide example as well as all of these other actions when it comes to overseeing
the execution of the big ideas that we have discussed in which they are the ones, of course, who put those out to the U.S. public.
ISAACSON: Do you see an overarching strategy at work?
PETRAEUS: Well, I do. Again, as I have described, the White House framework, I think, is very solid.
In fact, if you look at the National Governor Association approach, they actually compare and contrast every single one of the different significant
proposals that is out there.
And they're all roughly, again, the same. They all involve initially breaking community transmission by essentially the lockdown that we have
all been experiencing, and then, when the data shows you certain indicators -- and these are the metrics.
And, again, you live and die by metrics, just as we did in the combat zone. We have got to follow the data. And we have to adhere to, again, the
guidelines, certainly modified for the states and municipalities and their conditions, but take the actions, if and only if you have seen 14 down
days, and then you go to the next step, and then 14 more of the next, and so forth, until you are largely back at what used to be normal, noting that
there is going to be a new normal, and that I do think that business and consumer and citizen behavior will change, some of it, in certain respects,
forever, as a result of this terrible pandemic experience we're going through.
ISAACSON: But aren't most of the governors totally frustrated that they don't have the testing facilities that they need?
PETRAEUS: It certainly seems to be that, in a bipartisan basis, I think it's accurate to say that, again, Democratic and Republican governors have
stated that they would like to have more assistance with testing.
Now, again, to be fair, this is very, very hard government work, as we say, to dramatically increase this, and noting that a lot of the materials for
these testings and the various equipment involved is not produced in the United States. There's a huge reliance, of course, on Chinese manufacturing
and a lot of these different ways.
And there was also a huge reliance on what was called just-in-time logistics, where you don't want to have huge warehouses, because that all
costs money, and just as businesses have in some other cases, have slimmed down the warehouse contents, because there's a confidence that, in a
crisis, you can just have them deliver more and more rapidly than what is normally the case.
And, of course, if it's a global crisis, everybody is shut down, and that particular approach demonstrates certain vulnerabilities and challenges.
ISAACSON: Is the administration using the Defense Production Act effectively, in your opinion, or should we be taking an approach more like
we did in World War II?
PETRAEUS: That's a tough question.
Obviously, it has been used, I think it's just twice formally. But the threat of it has also been used. And I think that's been used to reasonably
good effect. But, again, at the end of the day, Walter, it's not a subjective judgment that should guide us here.
It's actually, as my father used to say whenever I would bring home a report card, results, boy. And it was same in Iraq. I remember my great
mentor, General Keane, coming out to Iraq. We're at about month five.
And, actually, we are starting to see a positive trend, but it's still too early. And he tells me -- he said, you know, you have a public relations
challenge here. And I said, we don't have a public relations challenge. We have a results challenge.
And, again, what should tell us how we're doing is whether or not we ultimately get to whatever is determined should be the goal for national
testing. And, again, if it's five million tests per day, which, again, would be something like 15 to 20 times a good day right now, that should be
the metric against which we are competing.
ISAACSON: You say that one of the most important things to do now is a massive surge in testing, and that we should have a coordinated effort to
throw everything at that.
Do you think that's happening?
PETRAEUS: I think there is that recognition.
I think, look. I mean, it was a press conference yesterday or the day before that had all of the individuals that produce these kind of tests,
not all, but a subset of them, once back on stage in the Rose Garden.
So, again, that's clearly that recognition. Then the question is, are those who are in charge of driving this campaign, because make no mistake about
it, you know, a commander may try to look as if he has a light hand on the reins and all he's doing is just sort of patting people on the back and
they're doing great work.
You drive a campaign. The surge in Iraq, we drove. General Odierno and I drove that surge, with McChrystal and others. Again -- and you absolutely
throw everything at that. And you don't let obstacles stand in your way, if you can prevent it.
ISAACSON: But do you feel that that's what's happening now, that that's what our leaders are doing?
PETRAEUS: It's -- this is a tough one for me to judge, Walter.
Again, I'm not in the counsels of these -- again, of the task force and the others. I'm not aware of all of the instructions that have gone out. I
don't have the projections and, again, the hard data right now.
But, again, certainly right now, I mean, what is, I think, undeniable is that we do not have the level of testing that every single one of the
programs either specifies or suggests is required ultimately to, with confidence, allow people to reduce some of the restrictions under which
we're currently operating.
ISAACSON: President Trump calls himself a wartime president. Tell me what you think the attributes of a wartime president should be.
PETRAEUS: I think that wartime or peacetime -- but, of course, there's a certain urgency to leadership in wartime, but you come back again to the
four tasks of a strategic leader, getting the big ideas right.
It's usually an inclusive, transparent, open, iterative process. No one of us is smarter than all of us together. Developing the big ideas, then
communicating them, and doing that relentlessly. And, again, the measure is, how well does someone perform each of those different tasks?
And that's the question that I think, again, it is fair for a country to ask about its leader, about its Congress, about its Federal Reserve chief,
Treasury secretary, the other prominent players, CDC and the HHS. And it's there for citizens of states and cities to ask the same about their
ISAACSON: President Trump has said that he -- quote -- "bears no responsibility" for this.
As a commander, how do you balance the notion of saying the buck stops with me, taking responsibility for things, with the need to keep people still
having faith in what you're doing?
PETRAEUS: Well, look, I grew up in a profession and served in that profession for over 37 years and over 38-and-a-half in government overall.
And the description of your responsibilities as a commander was that you are responsible for all that your unit does or fails to do. Now, obviously,
you look at, when you're evaluating a commander, for example, and you see that there has been some problem or challenge or they came up short on
something or did fantastically on something.
It is not always because of the commander. It is obviously always a team effort. So, in that sense, you have to factor in what else is going on.
But, at the end of the day, that particular thinking seemed inescapable for me, and I think probably is a reasonable example of the kind of
accountability that should go with the awesome responsibility that comes from command from executive positions.
ISAACSON: Have you spoken to President Trump about this?
I should note I have spoken to members of the White House, some that are of fairly significant rank, several of them. And they have welcomed input.
They haven't necessarily applauded every single bit of advice or recommendations that I have made.
But, by and large, they have been appreciative of me making that, providing that input.
ISAACSON: Do you think it would be useful to have a full-time commander, like a general, in charge of this on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour basis?
PETRAEUS: Look, I think you have a task force. It's led by the vice president. The president clearly is heavily involved in this.
There are subordinate task forces of various types. The challenge, of course, is, how do you drive this to the next level? And that is, I think,
the major question right now when it comes to significantly and dramatically increasing testing and contact tracing capabilities.
ISAACSON: And, finally, what have you learned, as a wartime commander and a joint commander of many forces under your control, that would apply to
this fight against coronavirus?
PETRAEUS: I think what you learn as a combat commander, if it's in Iraq or Afghanistan or the greater Middle East, what have you, is the imperative,
again, of getting the strategy right.
Please recall that the surge in Iraq that mattered most wasn't the surge of forces. It was a surge of ideas.
It was a change in strategy, and then that you have to work very hard to communicate those big ideas through the breadth and depth of the
organization, and then relentlessly oversee the implementation of those big ideas, working very hard to set up your subordinate commanders for success,
and to get everything you possibly can for them, so that they have the best possibility of achieving success, without ever forgetting to sit down
formally -- we used to do it in Baghdad -- and determining how you need to change, to refine, to augment the big ideas, so that you do it again and
again and again.
ISAACSON: General Petraeus, thank you so much for joining us.
PETRAEUS: My pleasure. Thanks, Walter.
AMANPOUR: Really important perspective.
And American history is filled with great leaders who united the country at times of peril. But in this current crisis, the nation seems as divided as
ever, like, for instance, Michigan, where a Democratic governor in a standoff with the Republican legislators over lockdown rules.
Angry protesters, some openly armed, jammed into the statehouse, demanding an end to the state of emergency.
Historian and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns said that, in divided times, it is more important than ever for America to live by its motto, e pluribus
unum, out of many one.
In fact, UNUM is name of his online name for history buffs. It's an incredibly themed compendium of his work across four decades.
And Ken Burns is joining me now from Walpole, New Hampshire.
Ken Burns, welcome back to the program.
I can't imagine a better time to have you back on, particularly talking about trying to bring history to the present and trying to unite people.
So, about UNUM, you know, you have relaunched it now under COVID. And we had that little clip where you're saying Mark Twain says history doesn't
repeat itself, it kind of rhymes.
What do you see rhyming today from history, and what are you putting out via UNUM?
KEN BURNS, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Well, I think that what we see rhyming is pretty obvious.
We have got depression-like economic circumstances. We have this thirst, this cry for leadership that have appeared at the critical junctures in the
past. We have -- we are on a warlike footing, so one is -- hearkens back to the revolutionary times and George Washington's leadership and the early
days of our republic, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, of course.
I think probably what comes to mind for most people is the person who oversaw not only our federal, our central, our unum approach to the
Depression, but also to the Second World War, the greatest cataclysm in human history, and that is Franklin Roosevelt.
UNUM is an attempt to realize that, A, history does not repeat itself, but there are many evergreen themes that constantly occur and reoccur, motifs,
echoes, ghosts, rhymes, if you will, that permit us to have a greater perspective on what's going on now.
So, with the support of the patriotic philanthropist David Rubenstein and my longtime colleague Don MacKinnon, we have been working for many years on
essentially assembling mix tapes, if you will, of these various themes. It might be leadership. It might be women. It might be race. It might be the
nature of freedom. It might be hard times, innovation, war, politics, a whole variety of things.
And look at the way the various times in our films, we have accidentally bumped into these things, and how they together suggest connections to the
present. There's never a moment in my filmmaking over the last four-and-a- half decades where I haven't finished a film, looked up and realized that it was rhyming in the present.
AMANPOUR: And look, talking about FDR, which you just mentioned -- of course, you did a big series on the Roosevelts.
And you have noted, of course, that FDR straddled the great eruptions of the time of that, the Depression, Second World War. You just heard General
Petraeus also talking about how communication is a vital part of strategy.
So, I want to ask you in a moment about fireside chats, about how FDR got the nation through this terrible, terrible time.
So, let's play a little clip, and then we will talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: By March 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as president, the banking system itself seemed about to go under, as
frightened depositors threatened to withdraw their savings.
Roosevelt closed the banks, then asked for radio time on Sunday evening, March 12, to tell the American people how he and they together would meet
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Ken, remind us what that was like, those fireside chats, and when he demanded that time to be able to communicate via radio then.
And, of course, in many, many decades since, it's been via television. Just compare or rhyme how FDR communicated, and the result of that, the effect
of that, compared to today and presidents since him.
BURNS: Well, I think Roosevelt understood that the power of this was in less being more.
We sort of hear about the fireside chats and assume they might be similar to the daily COVID briefings. They were not. They were few and far between.
So, when they happened, everybody paid attention.
And he was using a relatively new medium of radio in a very intimate and completely thoughtful way. Instead of having to, with a stentorian voice,
project to the farthest, he could actually, in a soft voice, draw you in, and you lean closer to your radio.
And the genius of the communication, people actually went and put their money back in the bank. When he said hoarding has become an unfashionable
pastime, people went and put their money back into the bank and saved capitalism, some people thought , in just a few days.
Today, I think we think that we can control the media, but it's really getting a tiger by the tail. And so I think what we find is that the
American people are drowning. They're saturated. They don't know where to get the information from.
And it makes us susceptible to those alternative facts and the possibility of those with more nefarious purposes to manipulate those facts or to try
I think what was important about the great leaders, whether it was Washington, or Lincoln or FDR, who arrive in very different technological
times in terms of the transfer of information, nonetheless understood that they were responsible, that being experimental was important, to admit your
failures was essential, and to essentially give voice to unum, that is, to say, we do celebrate the pluribus.
That's hugely important that everyone feels like they're a member. But, at the same time, we understand -- and this was the Depression -- the economic
circumstances were forced on us. But in the Second World War, we took that shared sacrifice another step, and we said, what -- we have only made 5,000
planes a year and you want 50,000? That's impossible, Mr. President.
He goes, no, it's possible. And we made 50,000 airplanes, 50,000 airplanes. Women did a lot of the work. Americans just decided they would put their
oars in the water at the same time and pull in the same direction.
And much as we're being asked to sublimate the individual freedom, what I want, for a collective freedom, what we need right now with the COVID
response to flatten the curve, is hugely reminiscent, echoing of these previous eras.
AMANPOUR: So, what you have said also is that you really want to -- you need -- the way to unite Americans in this incredibly an increasingly
fractured state of the world and state of your nation, is to talk about shared stories, shared history.
Do you see anybody out there who is bringing that pluribus, even now? Certainly, people have pointed to another governor of New York, the current
governor of New York, obviously FDR echoes.
Do you see what Andrew Cuomo is doing as trying to put the pluribus back into the United States?
I think him and the governor of Michigan and the governor of Rhode Island, each in their own way, are really trying to say, an important part of all
of this is empathy, that is to say, I understand what you're going through.
I remember the polls of the time of the Depression, people would place FDR above God. One man said, he's the only person who knows that my boss is an
Here's this to the-manor-born, patrician leader, FDR, who is himself enslaved by infantile paralysis. He cannot walk without assistance. And yet
people around the country feel that he knows them, feels that he senses what they're about.
And so I think that you see in the daily briefings of Andrew Cuomo and other governors, red state and blue state, around this country, it has
devolved in a vacuum of leadership to them to say, this is where we are. These are just the facts. This is what we need. This is what we're doing.
This is what I need of you. This is what you need of me. And this is what I will try to do.
These are all important things. And I have a sense that, if we were to take time away from their busy schedules -- and I wouldn't want to do it now --
we'd find that each one of them, Andrew or Gretchen or whomever, are students of history, that they have read about what it takes to make the
engine of this democracy operate.
And it isn't just a set of aphorisms on the wall. It's putting on the gas and then putting on the brakes. It's admitting your failures. It's taking
responsibility. It's experimenting. It's being honest. And it's saying, essentially, as you mentioned before, the buck stops here.
AMANPOUR: You mentioned a couple of female governors, including the governor of Rhode Island, Governor Raimondo.
I consider Rhode Island my home-away-from-home state. But you also, in your history lessons and your films, point to women's rights and how women --
Well, talk about the war production act. Women came hurtling to the corps and did so much in the manufacturing and the supporting of the war effort
Just tell us, because, right now, women are the majority on the front line as essential workers, certainly in the health care and that kind of...
AMANPOUR: ... yes, industry right now.
History tells us, that it will get better for women afterwards? I mean, could this be a turning point in terms of rights and et cetera?
BURNS: This -- this cannot help but be a turning point.
All great crises -- and this is clearly one of the greatest crises in the history of the United States -- offers, obviously, all of the horrible
things that we're going through, all of the disproportionate effects on African-Americans and people of color, all the economic dislocations, all
of the loss, the death, the sadness.
But it also offers opportunity. And every great crisis has done that, including World War II, including the Civil War. And I think right here,
Christiane, what could be a more ennobled position in the world than a nurse right now?
I mean, somebody -- all of us are sheltering in place, and trying to surround us with the kind of various moats that protect us and our family,
and understandably so. And we have been asked to do that. But we have people, mostly women, who are moving towards this danger.
And that, to me, is so ennobling. And so I think what happens is, a crisis also offers us, particularly in this case, a chance to transcend the
dialectic that has beset us for the last 50 years since Vietnam, this sense of red state/blue state, of young and old, of gay and straight, of rich and
poor, and that means be these old forums, these old tropes that have made somebody money, don't actually have to work anymore, that we can actually
see what the mechanics that our founders thought had to come into play, particularly at crises.
They're called into question at these moments. And we can understand, for example, why, when we're prosperous, and things are going well, we can
question the role of a government.
But a strong federal government at this moment is an undeniable fact of the survival of the United States of America. And, at that point, we can look
to our past and look to a Homestead Act and the Land-Grant College Act, and a Transcontinental Railroad, and the Emancipation Proclamation, and the
13th and 14th Amendment, and child labor laws, and labor's right to organize, and the Social Security, and the G.I. Bill, and the interstate
highway system, and a man on the moon, and the Affordable Care, and go, whoa, you know, our record as a federal government isn't this big force of
Have we screwed up? Yes. Please see my film on Vietnam.
BURNS: But we are, at heart, about a strong federal government that responds to the needs of its people. It hasn't done it very well most of
the time, but when it does do it well, we are all the better.
And I think this time calls for great, strong leadership, as we're seeing in many of the governors' houses.
AMANPOUR: And I can tell you, overseas, people are very well aware of American federal leadership at its best, and they're missing that absence
But I want to end on a more hopeful note, that, with UNUM, you're also putting out -- one of the things that you did first, it was about the
Brooklyn Bridge. It's something that's really inspired you. And it's a really -- it's a hopeful way to end.
So I want to put a little clip from that movie, and then we will just quickly talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARTHUR MILLER, PLAYWRIGHT: I mean, they could have built another Manhattan Bridge, couldn't they? And he didn't. He really aspired to do something
So, it makes you feel that maybe you too could add something that would last and be beautiful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, the great Arthur Miller talking about the decision to do that bit of infrastructure.
Just quickly -- we have got about 30 seconds -- why is it so important?
BURNS: This is -- history makes you an optimist, despite all of the horrible stuff that history reveals about us. Human nature never changes.
The levels of greed and generosity are the same, sometimes within the same person at war with one another.
But what Arthur Miller is acknowledging is the human impulse. None of us are getting out of this alive. A coronavirus is going to remind us that in
ways that are uncomfortable.
But if we do something that would last and be beautiful, there is a kind of immortality. And there is a sense of joining with other people in common
purpose, in a kind of common anthem, if you will, that gives us the confidence, gives us the courage, gives us the ability to move forward.
And the best teacher I know to arm you for these challenging moments is the history you don't know.
AMANPOUR: And it's so great that so much of the history you have created on film is now up there. It's on PBS. It's on UNUM.
And people can go and access it now. It's a really great service for our times.
Ken Burns, thank you so much, indeed.
BURNS: Thank you. It was great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: And, finally, on Monday, the president of the European Commission is hosting a virtual international pledging conference to raise
money needed to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development efforts.
Leaders and health organizations from all over the world are joining the event, except for one major player. And that is the United States.
I asked Ursula von der Leyen about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: We want to have this online pledging conference on Monday, the 4th of May.
And, indeed, we want to raise $8 billion. And we all know this is just the beginning. We will need more.
AMANPOUR: It looks like what people have been asking since the beginning, some kind of global task force to really coordinate many things, but, in
this case, vaccines.
I know that the U.S. government has not been particularly reliable as a leader in this moment, but it's just not willing to participate.
Have you ever come across that kind of reaction from the United States in a global crisis like this?
VON DER LEYEN: Well, the United States are doing a lot domestically, what research for a vaccine is concerned.
And, indeed, they are informed about our global initiative. And I hope that, in the one or the other way, they decide to join.
But, for sure, the American footprint is there, because we have outstanding American scientists and philanthropists that are joining our call for
action. And I'm very glad about that.
So we invited the whole world, and I think the whole world is joining.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And this is for vaccines that will made available to the whole world when they -- when they're discovered.
So, my full interview with von der Leyen will air on our show on Monday.
That's it for us for now. Goodbye from London.