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U.K. Faces Deepest Recession in History; Vaccine or Treatment is the Only Way Out of Crisis; 108 Ongoing Vaccine Trials for Coronavirus Around the World; Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, is Interviewed About Vaccine for Coronavirus; Arab and Jewish Doctors and Nurses Works Side by Side Against Coronavirus; Quiet Compromises in Voting Booths; Evan Osnos, Staff Writer, The New Yorker, Is Interviewed About Republicans; Interview With Laura Marling; Examining Trump's Support. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 7, 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." Here's what's coming up.
As the global economy hurtles towards depression, a vaccine is the way out. We speak to the preeminent scientist tasked with finding that holy grail,
Dr. Richard Hatchett.
Then, in Israel's war on coronavirus, the state's Arab doctors' risk everything on the front lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVAN OSNOS, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: They have changed their definition of how politics matter and why government matters to focus
overwhelmingly on economic policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Trump's country club Republicans, "The New Yorker's" Evan Osnos on quiet compromises made in the voting booth.
Plus, folk singer, Laura Marling joins us. Her latest album is a soothing balm for troubled times.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour, working from home in London.
As much of the world continues to battle COVID-19, we're facing a global recession of historic proportions. In the United States, numbers are
expected to show the economy shed 22 million jobs last month, alone. 30 million have been lost since the shutdown began. And here, the U.K. is
likely to see the deepest recession in its history, the same for the E.U.
And while this is because so many people have obeyed those stay-at-home orders, the question now is, will people be comfortable leaving their homes
to go back to work? Experts tell us, the only real way out of this health, economic and indeed psychological crisis is a vaccine or treatments. More
than a hundred trials are in the works around the world right now. The most important mobilization in a generation.
But when will one be successful, if ever? Well, the man to ask is Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of the very organization trying to speed up
development of a vaccine, CEPI. That's the organization. It's the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. He also served as an adviser on
pandemics for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. And Dr. Hatchett is joining me now from Surrey here in England.
Dr. Hatchett, welcome to the program.
I mean, if I say you are the person that everybody wants to hear from, I would not be making an overstatement. So just tell us, I've just announced
that the holy grail is going to be a vaccine and that there are some 108 vaccine trials, I think, underway, around the world. What is your immediate
prediction for when one might come? What is your expectation?
DR. RICHARD HATCHETT, CEO, COALITION FOR EPIDEMIC PREPAREDNESS INNOVATIONS: Hi, Christiane. Thank you for having me on the show.
We have said from the very beginning when we started our programs back in January that we thought if things went well that we could anticipate
vaccines becoming more broadly available, potentially within 12 to 18 months. Obviously, several months have passed since then. We are seeing
progress with our programs. We've got three of the vaccines that we're supporting are in clinical trials right now.
I think the timelines that we laid out then are still realistic. Is there a possibility that vaccines could become available in small amounts at an
earlier timepoint? Yes. I think, possibly by the end of the year, we might see some small amounts of vaccine becoming available, but it's hard to see
how those timelines could be advanced much more quickly than that.
AMANPOUR: So, you're still saying, despite -- I mean, and you are the voice on this. So, you're still saying 12 to 18 months is possible, because
there's a lot of others who are saying, you know, it's really an incredibly high expectation, a high bar. They point out that, you know, quickest
vaccine development, I think, on record was four years, and that was for mumps back in the 1950s.
HATCHETT: That's right. That's a famous story in vaccinology. Sorry about the background noise. That's a famous story in vaccinology. Maurice
Hilleman developed that mumps vaccine within four years. It does remain the fastest time from the basic development of a vaccine up until delivering it
We do see ways to compress the timelines and we have been working very diligently to do so, you know, compressing clinical development timelines
and certainly compressing the manufacturing timelines. It is an aggressive and very ambitious timeline, but we've also seen remarkable advances. One
of the vaccines that we're supporting, the Moderna vaccine, actually entered clinical trials just nine weeks after the genetic sequences were
released in january. It entered clinical trials in mid-March.
We've had -- as I've said, we've had other vaccines enter clinical trials. I believe there are six or seven vaccines now in clinical trials with a
couple soon-to-begin phase II clinical trials. So, that's -- you know, that is extremely fast. And, you know, everyone around the world is looking at
the -- at how to compress those timelines even further. And particularly how to expand the manufacturing as quickly as possible, so that when the
data accumulates, it shows that the vaccines are safe and effective, that we'll be able to release vaccine quickly.
AMANPOUR: So, you've said, in order to have a shot, there needs to be as many shots at goal as possible. So is that why we're seeing so many
different groups trying around the world. And to that point, also, we've talked and you've called at CEPI for, I don't know, $2 billion to be put
into this. We know that this latest fund-raising effort by CEPI and GAVI and the Gates Foundation and the European Union and others is calling for
Just where are we in terms of resources and personnel and science labs to have the most shots at goal, as you have put it?
HATCHETT: Well, we talk about the shots at goal because vaccine development is a high-risk undertaking. Most vaccines entering the early
stage clinical trials, these phase I clinical trials, based on historical experience, we'd estimate they might have a 10 to a 20 percent chance of
actually reaching licensure. So, we need as many, many products moving forward as quickly as possible so we can, you know, increase the odds that
we'll get a successful vaccine as quickly as possible.
I think the encourage thing over the last several months is the way that the global scientific community has truly come together. Scientists all
over the world, you know, dropping what they're doing, focusing on COVID- 19. We're learning a tremendous amount about the virus. We're learning a tremendous amount about the underlying immunology, which will be
particularly important in terms of developing vaccines. And people are putting amazing resources, you know, at our disposal, at the disposal of
the scientific community.
We've mentioned -- you mentioned the $2 billion goal that we articulated a couple of months ago. At this point, we've raised about two-thirds of that
amount, and that was originally envisioned as a target to cover expenses on the research and development side for 12 to 18 months. So, I'm very
encouraged. I think we've got a long way to go and we've got a lot of money that we need to raise. But it's -- you know, we're making tremendous
AMANPOUR: So, it's interesting to hear you sounding upbeat and people will take a lot of comfort from that, but I also want to ask you about some of
the issues and questions that people have. I mean, for instance, I just learned that there are no vaccines and there have been none for any of the
other coronaviruses that have come, because there's a particularly difficult specific sort of way to deal with what it attacks, which is the
upper respiratory tract.
Tell me about that. Why is the upper respiratory tract, which is where this COVID is attacking, why is that so difficult to treat or to immunize?
HATCHETT: Well, I'll tell you, we have encountered coronaviruses before. SARS, the Severe Acute Respiratory System, is a coronavirus. MERS, Middle
East Respiratory Syndrome virus, is a coronavirus. And we've undertaken vaccine development for them before. And I wouldn't say that the reason
that we don't have coronavirus vaccines now is because, you know, treating upper respiratory tract viruses is, you know, the main barrier. I would say
the main barrier, the reason that we haven't succeeded in developing coronavirus vaccines is that the diseases that we, you know, would have
considered developing vaccines against, SARS and MERS, are rare.
SARS caused one large, very significant outbreak, but then it -- once that outbreak was contained, that virus has never reemerged. MERS, in the last
eight or nine years, has caused less than 3,000 cases. So, there's very little in the way of a commercial market for these vaccines. And thus,
there's very little private sector capital going into developing vaccines against them.
One of the reasons CEPI, the organization that I lead, was created was to develop vaccines against epidemic diseases, where there are no commercial
markets driving the development. And one of the viruses that we were working on and had allocated about $100 million towards vaccine development
for was MERS. So, we had been working on coronaviruses prior to the emergence of COVID-19. And fortunately, we were able to take some of what
we had learned about coronaviruses, trying to develop vaccines against a different coronavirus, to bring that into the fight against COVID-19.
AMANPOUR: So, how do you feel when -- and again, correct me if I'm wrong on this, but there's evidence, because you've just talked about SARS and
MERS and the other, that in any event, vaccines of this level don't provide endless immunity. So, give us your best bet on what might be developed for
COVID and how much immunity? And I guess the related question is, do we yet know if anybody has had it, how long their immunity lasts?
HATCHETT: Well, we don't know that, and that's certainly something that we need to better understand. I mean, remember, this virus, as far as we know,
first emerged in November or December of last year. And so, we haven't had halt of time to, you know, discern the duration of immunity. There is a
tremendous amount about this virus that we don't understand. You undoubtedly heard in recent days the reports of a new syndrome that's being
observed in children. There have been reports of, you know, clotting disorders that have been observed. So, we have a lot still to understand
about this virus.
What we know about most viruses is that the immune system is involved in clearing the virus and once the immune system kicks in, you know, you do
achieve immunity against things that you've been exposed to previously. That immunity is not always enduring. Influenza is an example of a virus
that changes very rapidly in nature and that requires us to receive repeated immunizations. Is COVID-19 going to be like that or is it going to
be more like measles where a single vaccination can effectively vaccinate you for life? We don't know yet.
AMANPOUR: Well, that leads me to the question we talked about earlier, you mentioned manufacturing. There's still a whole load of questions about
that. You know, I wonder whether that gives you sleepless nights because it does others. Big pharma from Mercks said he just has sleepless nights
sometimes, waking up wondering how on earth you're going to be able to manufacture in time. I mean, what's going to be needed are billions of
And right now, I think, the fastest and the best labs can produce maybe 5 or 10 million doses at a time. In the United States might need just 500 to
600 million, if you're going to do, you know, more than one dose each. So, that is a huge number. Can you wrap your head around how the manufacturing
is going to work?
HATCHETT: Well, we've been looking into this, you know, intensively over the last few months. We're trying to map the global manufacturing capacity
that might be available in the near-term. We're not going to be able to go out and build huge factories from scratch. So, we're going to have to
leverage existing manufacturing capacities.
There's a very important part of the manufacturing process called filling and finishing, which is taking the bulk vaccine that you've developed and
actually putting it into vials that you will deliver to the doctors who will administer the vaccines to the patients. And that represents
potentially a rate limiting step, just putting the vaccines into the vials.
There are a number of bottlenecks that we're looking at. We're thinking very carefully about them. We're thinking about workarounds, which is not
to say shortcuts, but, for example, if you have a filling line and you have a choice between putting the vaccine into a single-dose vial or into a 20-
dose vial, you know, the same number of vials go through, but one generates 20 times the number of doses than the other.
And so, I think we're thinking about strategies that would get us to billions of doses. Have we sorted it all out, worked it all out yet? No, we
haven't. But we do see pathways to getting there. But it will be a tremendous challenge. It's something that has never ever been done.
AMANPOUR: I know you called it a herculean challenge. The gentlemen from Merck called the manufacturing an insurmountable task, which is a little
bit of a worrying way to put it.
But look, Dr. Hatchett, if this is the case and everybody is talking about emerging from lockdown and trying to get economies back, not just to see
the stock market rise, but to get ordinary people to be able to survive and to stop all the secondary effects of all of, you know, these economic
freeze right now, what is the plan B if a vaccine is not going to be able for -- in your best-case scenario, for 12 to 18 months? What is the plan B?
What about treatments? What about something else to allow people to get out of lockdown safely?
HATCHETT: Yes. No, absolutely. Vaccines are not, you know, the only part of an effective response. And I think what we have seen over the last few
months is, you know, using these lockdowns to regain control of epidemics that were at risk of overwhelming our health care systems. And what we're
going to see over the next several months and certainly, until a safe and effective vaccine is available and can be widely administered, which itself
is going to present a tremendous challenge, certainly globally, is a series of staged steps, where we emerge from the lockdowns.
It's going to require -- you've heard the mantra, testing, testing, testing. It's going to require surveillance. It's going to require, you
know, really recapitalizing the public health workforce to trace potential cases and to try to prevent epidemics from spinning out of control. There
are, you know, probably hundreds of studies underway at this point looking at potential treatments to better understand the management of COVID-19.
And we are likely to continue to see a need for social distancing or physical distancing, you know, behavioral modifications on the part of
individual citizens, you know, really until a vaccine becomes broadly available. And what we would like to do, obviously, over time, is learn how
to coexist, perhaps uneasily, with this virus until such time as a vaccine becomes available.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to ask you about lockdown because, for instance, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo in his briefing yesterday was saying,
look, we still have, you know, 600 or so new cases every day. We still have about 252, I think, was the latest number of deaths per day. Even though
we've done the lockdown, just listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): With everything we've done, closed schools, closed businesses, everybody shelter at home, all the precautions about
wearing masks, wear gloves, et cetera, you still have 600 new cases that walked in the door yesterday. The week before that, we still saw 1,000 new
cases every day. Where are those new cases still coming from? Because we've done everything we can to close down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Dr. Hatchett, you can understand his frustration, right? Where are those new cases coming from?
HATCHETT: Well, you know, even the lockdowns, obviously -- and I can't speak for New York City, I'm not there, and I -- but I can imagine living
in a dense urban environment presents tremendous challenges. People have to go -- you know, they live in apartment buildings, they have to go down,
they have to go to grocery stores, they have to get food. And so, you can't completely prevent disease transmission, even with draconian lockdowns.
In fact, when I worked in the Bush administration, we looked back at the experience using very similar public health interventions during the great
influenza in 1918, and what you saw at the time was some cities were able to, you know, very successfully suppress transmission, but you saw steady
ongoing transmission until they actually lifted the interventions. I don't think the lockdowns in 1918 were quite as dramatic as the ones that we're
using today, but you did see continuing transmission.
And often when those interventions were turned off, and my memory is that in 1918, they were more like a light switch, they didn't gradually come
out, they sort of turned them on and turned them off. You saw an increase in transmission. And that's what, I think, everyone is concerned about. And
what we're trying to figure out is how can we gradually ease out of the lockdowns that we're in during summer, when we hope -- at least in the
Northern Hemisphere, when we hope there will be some natural suppression of transmission, and how can we put in place mechanisms to, you know, do
surveillance for the disease, track cases and stop epidemics from burning out of control.
AMANPOUR: Well, it all does sound herculean, as you said. But I want to ask you one final quick question. Are you concerned by the reports from
France that potentially a patient with coronavirus symptoms who wasn't diagnosed as that in December might have a different story about patient
zero? And we understand that in Chicago, they're also going back and looking at tests of other patients who might, in retrospect, in hindsight,
have actually had COVID then. Is that something that's even possible?
HATCHETT: Well, I mean, I think it's certainly possible. We know the outbreak started in Wuhan, you know, probably in late November, maybe in
early December. And it only takes one traveler. And this is an extremely infectious disease. And we know that there's a lot of asymptomatic
transmission. So, if a case popped up in Chicago or in Paris, does that mean that the disease has been circulating a lot longer? Not necessarily.
But what we are seeing is a disease that's highly infectious, that is associated with a significant lethality, you know, that many times that of
the flu, and that is causing tremendous disruption, which just to come back to the question of, you know, developing vaccines. I mean, vaccines are
really going to be our exit strategy from this pandemic and from all of the disruption that they have caused. And it's critically important that we
move as fast as we can.
I want to just mention one recent development that I think is really, really important. You undoubtedly heard about the establishment of the
access to COVID-19 tools or act accelerator, which is a number of nations, over 30 nations coming together, working with the pharmaceutical industry,
working with non-governmental organizations, multi-lateral organizations, in what is really a grand, cooperative effort, through global cooperation
to develop the tools we need, diagnostics, therapeutic and vaccines to get us out of this pandemic. And it's a tremendously important undertaking that
I think everyone should support.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Hatchett, thank you so much.
And as he helps us make sense of the road ahead and how to manage our expectations for a vaccine, we turn now to Israel, where restrictions are
starting to ease as well. This comes as the country's supreme court cleared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's way to an unprecedented fifth term as
leader, despite being under criminal indictment.
He's entering a unity government with his rival, Benny Gantz. As the country has come together to fight the virus, so too have Jewish and Arab
Israelis on common ground in hospital across the country.
Our Oren Liebermann reports that when it comes to fighting on the coronavirus front lines, Arab doctors are more than equal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In hospitals across Israel, the coronavirus has shown an indifference to race, religion or belief. The
doctors and nurses on the front line share the same impartiality.
In the fight against COVID-19, Arab doctors and nurse have stood side by side with their Jewish colleagues. The virus doesn't care about who's who.
Why, they ask, should they?
DR. JAMIL HASSAN, HILLEL YAFFE MEDICAL CENTER (through translator): I think that all of us, you Jews and Muslims, give what is necessary for
every patient regardless of race, religion and belief, and that's our duty. We have to do it properly without connection to anything else.
LIEBERMANN: Dr. Jamil Hassan is the head of the coronavirus at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, one of many Arab physicians in top
positions in Israel.
HASSAN (through translator): We're dealing all the time with things we did not know and don't know. This virus in particular. We have never seen a
virus that truly spreads throughout the entire world. And I think we prepared well in this country.
LIEBERMANN: The medical unity has created some made for social media moments. Two paramedics, one Jewish, one Muslim, praying side by side
during a short break. An Arab doctor bringing a Jewish tourist girl into the coronavirus unit for Jews to pray.
A new video shows medical staff in masks as heroes, only to reveal that these doctors and nurses are Arabs, calling them an inseparable part of the
State of Israel. Inherently, that message is political. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frequently targeted Israel's Arab politicians,
calling them supporters of terror. His nation state law stripped Arabic of its status as an official language and enshrined into law that only Jews
have the right to self-determination in Israel.
Yet, in early April, when Netanyahu needed Arab politicians to pass a $25 billion coronavirus aid package, there was no show of gratitude says Arab
lawmaker, Ahmad Tibi, himself a doctor.
AHMAD TIBI, ISRAELI PARLIAMENT MEMBER: It's politics. It's racism.
LIEBERMANN: Arabs make up about 20 percent of Israel's population. They are 20 percent of the country's nurses and nearly half of Israel's pharmacists.
According to the Ministry of Health and a researcher in (INAUDIBLE), in addition, 17 percent of the country's doctors are Arab.
TIBI: We have the best physicians in the Israeli hospitals working together by great staff, both Jews and Arab doctors, and they are
struggling on the front line against the coronavirus.
LIEBERMANN: Many of those doctors come from here, Kafr Qara, sometimes called The Village of Doctors. Hassan Agbaria is the principal of the
bilingual school here. He says it's the only place in the world where Jewish students come to an Arab village to study.
HASSAN AGBARIA, PRINCIPAL, BRIDGE OVER THE WADI SCHOOL (through translator): The corona, this crisis, what it did was took down the
blockages of stereotyping that people would look at someone and see him as if in a box. They would take him off his box. Hassan is an Arab. Is he
Muslim or a Christian? Is he like this or like this?
LIEBERMANN: Some of his former students have become doctors. It's a field where he says advancement is based on professionalism and little else.
AGBARIA (through translator): This is obviously a welcome change. This change did not just happen. It came from a change in understanding both
from the Arabs and the Jews. It's a change of both sides. You can't have a real change with only one side. It's a public discourse. It's a real
discourse that says everyone here should be equal.
LIEBERMANN: The coronavirus crisis has accelerated that discourse in a time of great medical need. But is the appreciation across Israeli society
merely transitory or can it prove lasting?
Oren Liebermann, CNN. Kafr Qara.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It's a great story. And the Israeli prime minister has reaped the benefit of uncommon support from President Trump, who faces his own
tough re-election campaign ahead. The once-buoyant U.S. economy, his main pitch to voters is currently crashing towards recession. How will this
affect his chances in November? "The New Yorker's" Evan Osnos says one answer lies in what he calls a persistent mystery at the ballot box. For
his latest piece, he returns to his childhood home of Greenwich, Connecticut, to explore how unlikely Trump voters came to support him. He
talks to our Michel Martin about it.
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Evan Osnos, thanks so much for joining us.
EVAN OSNOS, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: One of the things you do in this piece, how Greenwich Republicans learn to love Trump, which is in "The New Yorker," is that you upend a
stereotype that a lot of people may have had, which is that, you know, President Trump supporters are primarily people who have been left out or
who think they have been left out. What's the reality that you discover that's different from what a lot of people might have expected?
OSNOS: Yes. The surprise for me was that Greenwich Connecticut, which I should say, the place where I grew up, was a place where Donald Trump won
the Republican primary. It's worth reminding ourselves that we don't know much about Greenwich. It's one of the wealthiest places in America.
2016, the year of the election, it was the wealthiest metropolitan area ahead of San Francisco, with technology money or ahead of Midland, Texas,
where there's a lot of oil well. And it's also a place that has a very long tradition in Republican politics. In some ways, it's kind of the cradle of
what Republican politics is, going all the way back. It's the literally childhood home of George H.W. Bush. His father, Prescott Bush, he was the
moderator of the local town council.
And Prescott Bush was -- in many ways, he defined what the Republican Party was in the 1950's book. Eisenhower called modern Republican. He was a
little bit left of his own party. He was sort of liberal on civil rights, things like that. He was liberal on welfare and on birth control, which was
a big issue at the time.
And for a long time, that was the dominant strain of Republican thinking in Greenwich, Connecticut. And what I found fascinating was that when you --
by the time he got to 2016, so much had changed what it meant to be a Republican in American and to some degree, it changed in Greenwich, that he
was able to defy all the predictions, which was that somebody like John Kasich, the Ohia moderate governor who is going to prevail there.
And in fact, no, Donald Trump prevailed in that Republican primary and he prevailed in 20 out of 23 of the municipalities in that area, Fairfield
County, which has traditionally been the home of moderate Republicans.
MARTIN: One of the things that you say in that piece is that people like to think of President Trump's relationship with the Republican Party as a
hostile takeover. What you say it's actually a joint venture. Talk a little bit more about that.
OSNOS: When I say joint venture, what I mean is that this was not as if Donald Trump and his politics came upon the Republican Party and seized it
away from a reluctant body of leaders and ideas. In fact, it was something else. It was that over the course of a generation, the current leadership
of the Republican Party, people who previously had stood for things like free trade, internationalism, you know, immigration reform to allow people
to come in from overseas and to get documentation here, that they made a choice to accommodate themselves tops what Donald Trump represented.
And it was not as if they couldn't control the party and they lost control of it. No, they made a choice to say, this is our standard-bearer now. This
is the person who speaks for our party now. And if you sort of think of it as a hostile takeover, it doesn't help you understand how it is that
they've stayed with him through impeachment. They've stayed with him through these low approval ratings over the course of the last three and a
You only begin to understand how it is that he's going into the 2020 reelection with the kind of Republican support he has, which is very high,
by understanding it as something that is much more of a marriage of convenience than it was an invasion from outside the party.
MARTIN: Well, I think a lot of people who might be surprised by this, you know, have this kind of sense that the good people of Greenwich were
clutching their pearls at his, you know, vulgarity, at his ostentation.
Some of them are sort of ostensibly people in the Prescott Bush mold, who were ostensibly supporters of civil rights. But you are saying that really
that's style, but the reality of it for them, the substance for these people is money, really. It comes down to money. Would you talk about that?
OSNOS: What's so interesting, Michel, is that there's sort of two ideas happen at the same time.
One idea is important to keep in our minds, which is that Greenwich, like so much of the coast of the United States, has turned blue over the course
of the last generation. So, Hillary Clinton, no surprise, everybody expected it, she won the town in the general election.
But what's fascinating is what happened within the Republican Party in town. That's where the heart of the story is. That's where it becomes this
question of, well, how did Republicans think about Donald Trump?
Because we sometimes get -- one of the reasons why I think it sort of can puzzle us how it is that Donald Trump maintains this level of Republican
support at such high levels in the party well above where you might imagine him to be, you have to understand how Republicans, outside of those
cliches, think about him.
And that's how you get to the Greenwich Republican.
MARTIN: So get to the brass tacks here. What is it that they find so appealing about him?
OSNOS: What they do is that they have changed their definition of how politics matter and why government matters to focus overwhelmingly on
I talked to people, for instance, who would say to me -- Thomas Peterffy, who used to own the largest estate in Greenwich, he said, look, this in
2016 was not a choice between two candidates based on their personality. This was about a single issue for him. It was about regulation.
Which party, which candidate is going to increase more regulation or scale back regulation? And I heard that over and over and over again from people,
that, in a way, this -- the notion of politics that Prescott Bush believed in, which was that it was this whole system of ideas that had to do with
how do you help the most vulnerable people in society get a fair shot, how do you think about all of the interlocking pieces, how do you decide what's
a reasonable level of taxation, that really none of that matters as much anymore to the Republican voters who cast their ballots for Donald Trump in
What they cared about above all was, what is he going to do for the economy, what is he going to do for regulation, what is he going to do for
taxes? And that has caused, to be blunt, a kind of soul-searching among some people who say, how can you do that?
Look, that's not what we represented historically as a town. We like to think of ourselves as being the kinds of people who are blessed with
tremendous advantages, and are then using those advantages to try to help other people who don't have such good fortune.
And so that's the kind of core of the matter. And that's where the Donald Trump support becomes such a controversial fact in town.
MARTIN: I mean, one of the things -- points you make in your piece is that, as early as May 2016, exit polls and other data showed that Trump
supporters earned an average of $72,000 a year, while supporters of Hillary Clinton earned $11,000 less, and that you said that two-thirds of Trump
supporters had incomes higher than the national median, sometimes, as in Greenwich, much higher.
So you made that point in your piece.
But if you just focus on what people think of as the stereotypical Trump voters, somebody who feels threatened by racial minorities, threatened by
immigration, somebody who is going to take their jobs or compromise their sense of status and their sense of -- their place in the world, none of
that applies to these people.
So what is the thing that is so overriding to them that they feel they have to go all in or want to go on in?
OSNOS: I think one of the things that comes to the fore when you have these kinds of long interviews with people on that subject is that, over
the course of a generation or two, that the idea that the economy needs to be, as they would put it, unencumbered, that it needs to be liberated from
any of the kinds of things that others would think of as the normal elements of democratic function, like a reasonable level of social welfare
protection, or regulations that prevent abuses in the workplace or environmental destruction.
That those are, in some ways, a litmus test, that those are, by just in their own -- just in themselves, have -- are an encumbrance on the economy
that ultimately harm the United States, in their view, and then harm themselves, harm their bottom line.
And I think that they would put it in larger terms than saying, look, this is just about me trying to help my bottom line. They would say, this is me
trying to adopt an ideological position that is going to ultimately benefit the United States.
And I think that -- and I heard it -- somebody who heads the town's finance board, which sounds like that kind of not particularly interesting
position, but is a hugely powerful position. It's the person who casts the deciding vote in how much you spend on public education in town, how much
you spend on poverty programs.
And what he said to me was, look, we don't have the luxury, particularly now, during this pandemic, of being able to spend the kind of money that
perhaps people might want to spend ideally without these pressures. We have to be conservative. We have to be protective. We have to protect ourselves
and our people.
And I think that a lot of people respond to that, a lot of people in town respond to that and say, but hold on. This is literally one of the most
prosperous places on the planet. How is it that we don't have enough money to be able to spend? Maybe it means we have to pay a little more in taxes,
but shouldn't we be able to do that? We have been able to do it historically. How do we draw that balance?
This is really about this constant seesaw battle between, how much do we serve ourselves and how much do we try to serve a broader society? And at
the moment, Donald Trump has become the fulcrum on which that seesawing battle has tilted in favor of people wanting to say, I'm going to have to
look out for myself before I look out for everybody else.
MARTIN: Can I ask you about race, though, what role you think race plays in this?
MARTIN: Because you don't talk much about it in the piece.
OSNOS: I think it plays a large role. I think it's one that people tend to wrap in the language of economic anxiety, but at the core of it is a kind
of racial anxiety about it.
I mean, I Chris Shays, who was the congressman from that area for years and years and years, and, in many ways, he's now too liberal for that area. He
gets called a RINO, a Republican in a moment. He says to me in this piece that he thinks like a lot of people in the area and, broadly, Republicans
actually share Donald Trump's views on immigration, which is to say that they are on unnerved by the idea of people coming into the country who
don't look like them.
And they don't like to say it, because it's an ugly thing to say, and they don't want to be associated with it. And so they prefer to use other
language or they don't say anything publicly. But that's his -- and I think he has a pretty astute sense of it.
I would find that, when I talk to people about it, people would recoil from the idea that they were acting out of a racist idea. They would say that,
that's not me. That's not who I am. And they would put it in other terms.
But, in the end, it's the vote. It's how you vote. If you vote for somebody who is enacting a policy that is explicitly, demonstrably, measurably
harming people of color and people who are coming in from outside the country, well, then you're signaling your support for that person, whether
or not you describe yourself that way at the dinner table.
And so I think it's actually a version of what we see in a lot of the country, which is that sometimes people will put it into economic terms,
but the issues run to race below that.
MARTIN: I just want to draw on your long history of reporting from China. And I want to -- and the U.S.-China relationship.
So, if the focus of support for the president is economic policy, how do the people whom you interview feel about the president's approach toward
China, I mean, first the trade war, now blaming China for the virus?
Does this change their thinking in any way that you have observed?
OSNOS: Yes, I have watched this really sort of rapid inversion of what the consensus is among the American business leaders on China.
For the last 25 years, the default position has been, we want more engagement with China. That's the future of our market. That's where we
are. And in many ways, that was the default position for the Republican Party pre-Donald Trump. That was certainly what George W. Bush believed.
George H.W. Bush had been the U.S. ambassador in China.
There was a -- yes, there was a sort of sense that that was a core part of America's future, was having this productive economic relationship with
Donald Trump gave permission to a different idea, which is he said, no, China is our opponent now. China is -- is obviously -- we're going to
engage them in a trade war. We're going to now make them the primary focus of our national security strategy.
And so you have seen in general, I think, business leaders have said, OK, we will take a more confrontational approach with China, because maybe
it'll actually help us get more market share in China. It might help us improve our business terms, our trade terms there.
But there's also wariness, because they say, we can't afford to cut China out of our future. It's actually going to be part of our economic future,
and we want it to be.
MARTIN: I know you worked on this piece over a long period of time. You certainly started reporting it well before the current moment.
But do you have any sense of whether the coronavirus pandemic and everything it has wrought has changed these people's calculation in any
OSNOS: I think you might be surprised how little it has actually changed people's attitudes.
I think, in a lot of ways, how they evaluate Donald Trump's performance is largely based on, what is he going to do to try to repair the economic
meltdown? And I heard this from people involved in Greenwich who would say, look -- I say involved meaning involved in the Republican politics.
They would say, we think he's going to put the economy first. And I heard people making the argument, which we have now heard from others, that don't
let the cure be worse than the disease, which is, in effect, an expression of an economy-first view of thinking of, how do you make policy choices?
How do you balance the risk of suffering for vulnerable people vs. the need to get the economy moving again?
And I -- this is where it goes back to what I think is the sort of taproot of so much of what we're talking about today, which is that it became the
triumph of economic rationale over other political considerations.
So, yes, the idea that there -- clearly, the virus goes beyond borders, it goes beyond town borders, county borders, state borders.
But what you see is the instinct to say, I'm going to -- it actually -- I think, in some ways, it reinforces some people's existing attitudes, which
is to say, well, under those circumstances, I'm going to look out for myself and my family, and I'm going to put that -- in some ways it becomes
a justification for that instinct, rather than a reason to challenge it.
MARTIN: And what are the implications, in your view, for the upcoming election?
I mean, it sounds to me like what you're saying is, these folks are all in.
OSNOS: Yes, I think the implications are that Donald Trump is -- maintains this level of support that surprises his critics, because a lot of people
look at his performance and think that this performance on the virus has been an abject failure, and how can people maintain their support for him,
just on a pure sort of performance basis.
But I think, by this point, so much of people's political identity has become wrapped up in being a Trump supporter. They have spent the last
three-and-a-half years essentially saying at dinner parties, here's why I'm right and why I was right to vote for this president.
It's very hard for them to relinquish that position casually. I think some of them -- in the same way that some of them in the privacy of the voting
booth pulled the lever for Donald Trump in ways they didn't talk about at the time,maybe talked about it afterwards, after he won, I think there are
some of them who still say that they vote for Donald Trump, but, when the moment comes, they might not.
So, in some ways, that -- this is -- but I don't -- I think the core of the matter is, is that he is a stronger candidate than some people like to
think. I think, in Greenwich, he's going to lose. He's going to lose to -- if Joe Biden is the nominee, that's what's going to happen, the same way
that he lost to Hillary Clinton.
Will his Republican support be substantial? Yes, it will be substantial. And I think that's a reflection of how baked in our party identities are
right now, and that people are -- people are not willing to leave that tribe, even under a lot of pressure.
MARTIN: Evan Osnos, thanks so much for talking to us.
OSNOS: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: So interesting getting that breakdown and trying to read the tea leaves.
And, finally tonight, the British folk singer Laura Marling was meant to be touring the U.K. and the United States right now. But like the rest of us,
COVID has confined her to home. So, she has decided to give us some music to get us through with an early release of her album "Song For Our
Here's a snippet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And Laura Marling joins me now.
Welcome. Welcome to the program.
So, you were meant to be touring, as I said, and you have released your album early. What went into that decision to release it early?
LAURA MARLING, SINGER/SONGWRITER: I think it just seemed like the inevitable pushback -- push back of dates, I mean, was going to go on for
an indefinite amount of time, and it might be a time to entertain people, if you possibly can.
So it was quite simple, really.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's definitely entertaining.
And I don't know whether you caught it, but I certainly caught it for the - - seeing -- when I saw the that video for the first time. Obviously, it's people hugging. And you don't see that right now.
I just wonder what you're thinking of when you know that perhaps people at home are looking, are listening to this release, and watching it in a
collective way and maybe, yes, getting pleasure, but having maybe some reminiscences about life that was so different just six weeks ago.
MARLING: Yes, I think that sort of upsetting nostalgia is also an important part of what we're going through. It's a difficult time that we
will take some emotional healing from.
So, anything to, I don't know, provoke emotion a little bit as well is maybe useful.
AMANPOUR: So tell me how you do that, because you're a folk singer. Reviewers have sort of said that you get inspiration -- or they compare you
a little to Joni Mitchell, to Bob Dylan, to all the folk influences.
What do you take inspiration from? And what is the sort of message of this album?
MARLING: I take inspiration from all manner of places, I mean, predominantly, the world around me and the combination of my experiences
and my observances of people.
And all of those things get regurgitated in a strange way and become a different story, and it's not ever particularly autobiographical. But the
message with -- well, the sentiment underneath this album was, I think, a product of turning 30 or approaching turning 30, and having started -- I
was -- started performing and releasing albums when I was 17, and realizing how much the culture has shifted in its understanding of what it is to be a
young woman in the world, and what I would have liked to have known perhaps a bit earlier than I did.
AMANPOUR: So, tell me a little bit about that. What has shifted for you, and what would you have liked to have known earlier?
MARLING: I think a sense of more power to police one's own boundaries. I wish that had been entrenched in me, not that I would do anything
But I think there's a tremendous sense of understanding now that wasn't there before about how much has been ingested about what the construction
of a woman is. And we're now in this phase of deconstructing it.
And I think that's really useful and provides much more sort of color and vibrancy to the individual, yes.
AMANPOUR: The album, as we said, is called "Song For Our Daughter."
And, of course, I thought that it was song for your daughter, but you don't have a daughter. And you have said, "You want to prepare my figurative
daughter to fight her battles well and with dignity."
So, again, expand on what you mean by that and how you came to that title.
MARLING: Well, I came to that title sort of borrowing Maya Angelou's title of her book "Letter to My Daughter," again, to a figurative daughter, which
I found that the sentiment of it -- it's an amazing book filled with sort of incredible wisdom, but the openness of that sentiment, that she didn't
have a daughter, that it was written to anybody, I found inviting.
And I think the idea of fighting your battles well and with dignity is the sort of -- the most practical takeaway of everything that's happening in
culture .It's moving slowly, this equality or an understanding of the difference between men and women, and what it is to be a woman, and what it
is to be a man, and everything in between.
The real useful skill is diplomacy. And I think it's sometimes undervalued or not considered how much diplomacy can be useful.
AMANPOUR: I really love that you use that word.
Talk a little bit more about it. What do you mean? Diplomacy how? In personal relationships, I think you're probably talking about, right?
MARLING: In personal relationships, in business relationships, in political discussion.
I think -- I interviewed -- funnily enough, I interviewed Dolly Parton a couple of years ago, which was a very strange experience for me, but...
MARLING: It's great. It was for a podcast that I did about women behind the scenes in the music industry, so engineers, people who work at record
labels, things like that, and why there's such an imbalance there.
And when I got to Dolly, she was the last person that I interviewed. She has this incredible lifetime's worth of knowledge and understanding about
diplomacy and how to conduct yourself. I don't know. It's not every -- maybe it's not everyone's cup of tea, but you can't deny that everything
that's thrown at her, particularly in an interview situation, is dealt with, with amazing charm and incredible diplomacy.
And that's one very vivid version of that. And I think there's subtler versions of it, obviously. But that's what I mean.
AMANPOUR: And she's obviously -- I mean, she's so prominent in her field, and as an icon, really, for women's rights as well, even in the films that
she's played. I mean, so it's so interesting that you took that from her.
I just want to ask you, also, because we're going to get you to play in a little bit, but you don't particularly like social media, but, under
lockdown, you have started to, I think, engage with the public on social media, on Instagram, I think.
And you're giving guitar tutorials. How did that come about?
MARLING: That was -- that was a sort of reaction to the intensity of the lockdown, the announcement of lockdown, not that the intensity has shifted
But I suddenly realized I don't really have anything to offer. I'm not one to -- I'm not a natural entertainer, so I wasn't going to do sort of home
concerts. So guitar lessons seemed like a nice sort of boundaried interaction.
And it's been very, very nice, I have to say.
AMANPOUR: I'm giggling because you say you're not an entertainer, but you are. I mean, that's what you do. You entertain the public. You tour. You go
-- but, I mean, it's just interesting.
And interesting also to know that I think you're taking a master's in psychoanalysis right now. So, is it partly because of, I don't know, the
feeling of not being an entertainer, you know what I mean, the sort of where you find yourself in that sort of interface between you and the rest
of the world, or a little bit about the diplomacy that you were just talking about?
What are you -- why are you doing this?
MARLING: Well, it's a mix of all of those things.
I think what drew me to psychoanalysis in the first place, other than being having been a patient of it, was the -- you know, the language with which
to describe the persona -- a persona and a private experience of yourself, the interior, beyond the epidermal level, of what you are, and then what
you present to the world is the meeting point of all kinds of difficulties and joys, and, you know, understanding the true motivations under things.
And how -- just listening to the person who was speaking before me about Trump voters identifying as Trump voters, and how those kind of identities
become entrenched and the motivations behind them become interdependently complex, and that's all psychoanalysis to me.
So, that's why I liked it.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's great.
Listen, Laura Marling, it's been great to meet you.
We're going to say good night and goodbye.
And we would love for you to play us out. "Strange Girl," I think I would like you to play.
MARLING: Yes, sure.