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U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 100,000; Trump Defending Anti- Malarial Drugs; Delving into Trump Think; Celebrating Memorial Day; David Urban, Member of President Trump's 2020 Advisory Committee, and Michael D'Antonio, Author, "The Truth About Trump," are Interviewed About Trump; "Rodham," a Book About Hillary Clinton; Curtis Sittenfeld, Author, "Rodham," is Interviewed About Hillary Clinton; Coronavirus and Higher Education. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 25, 2020 - 14:00:00 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.
Remembering the war dead as the coronavirus death toll nears 100,000, more than what killed in all wars since Vietnam. Biographer, Michael D'Antonio
and Trump 2020 adviser, David Urban debate the president's handling of this crisis.
Then, what if Hillary never married Bill? Author, Curtis Sittenfeld, imagines a different world where Hillary Rodham, not Clinton, runs for
Also ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT GALLOWAY, HOST, VICE TV'S "NO MERCY, NO MALICE": The weaker are going to get cleared out. But once the calling is done, the strong, the top
universities are going to come back even stronger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
The phone calls that could save top universities and wipe out the rest. Author and professor, Scott Galloway, talks to our Hari Sreenivasan.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour working from home in London.
It is a bank holiday here in the U.K., it is Memorial Day in the United States and it is Groundhog Day everywhere, whereby politics keeps rearing
its ugly head amid this public health emergency.
In Britain, a government adviser says that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is trashing scientific advise as he defends his top political aide, Dominic
Cummings, the strategist who allegedly violated lockdown at the end of March while he was showing symptoms of coronavirus.
In the United States, President Trump is once more caught in controversy taking and defending anti-malarial drugs despite a recent large study
linking them to increased rates of death and heart problems in coronavirus patient. Trump is refusing to wear a mask on camera. Instead, deciding this
weekend to been playing golf as the number of U.S. coronavirus deaths nears 100,000. That is more Americans than were killed in the wars in Vietnam,
the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
We thought we'd delve into Trump think with someone who doesn't like or respect his vision and with someone who very much does. Michael D'Antonio
joins us from New York. He interviewed the president for the 2015 biography "Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success." And from Fort
Myers in Florida, David Urban, a friend of the president and a member of his 2020 advisory committee.
Gentlemen, welcome to the program.
So, let me start by asking you to try to sort of weigh in on all of the issues that are sort of mounting throughout this crisis, or at least some
of them. So, let's talk about the current Memorial Day weekend. And over the weekend, as we know, President Trump decided to go play golf at his own
golf club in Virginia.
Let me just quote what "The New York Times" describes as the catastrophe of these deaths. In terms of U.S. deaths, it's the equivalent of 22 Iraq wars,
33 September 11 attacks, 41 Afghanistan wars, 42 Pearl Harbors or 25,000 Benghazis.
David Urban, you are an adviser and a friend of the president's, what do you think goes through his mind when he goes to play golf in this kind of
situation on this Memorial Day weekend?
DAVID URBAN, MEMBER OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S 2020 ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Hi, Christiane. I think the president is doing everything he can. I think he
has done everything he can. I think that he is in touch with his advisers and cabinet. And, you know, when the president goes anywhere, he takes an
entire team with him. So, just because he's hitting the golf ball around doesn't mean he's not working or at work.
You know, I find this -- it's always amazing. It's somehow if the president goes some place that he is not in contact or communication with folks. So,
I think as America begins to reopen and people are going out on walks around parks and people are golfing and lots of places are golfing here in
Florida and other places, I think it's completely fine.
Look, these deaths are tragic. They truly are tragic. I mean, every death is horrible. Obviously, you know, to kind of quote John Dunn, you know,
every man's death diminishes me not for -- I'm a part mankind but, you know, not to be lost in the months of March and April, you had a roughly
115,000 people die of coronary artery disease. 100,000 people die of cancer. 25,000 people die of stroke. 25,000 people die of Alzheimer's and
so on and so forth. People die in America every day. And for just to accept -- expect to president to sit frozen in his office I think is unrealistic.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, there's a difference between sit frozen in his office and play golf on Memorial Day weekend while also tweeting about number of
baseless conspiracy theories, retweeting posts of ridiculing Stacey Abrams, as we know from Atlanta, ridiculing her weight, calling Nancy Pelosi,
Speaker of the House, a drunk and calling Hillary Clinton, his former rival a skank.
And then, again, incorrectly tweeting cases and deaths down across America where we know that's not the case, in some places they are, in some places
they are going up. What are the optics, do you think, David? Why would the president be doing that stuff? Really trying to understand this. That's why
we have you on.
URBAN: Yes, look. So, you know, Christiane, I always speak out against those types of tweets. I don't think they're useful. I think they divide
voters, not unite voters. I think they maybe appeal to certain demographic in the base. I would rather the president continue to tweet out about the
very positive things that the administration accomplished. Focus on those. Focus on the good things that are happening in America today.
Look, there are lots of deaths, tragic, they are tragic. And America has the best, brightest scientist and researchers, pharmaceutical companies,
private and public sector working together to try to combat this. I'd rather see the president focus on the positive things his administration
he's accomplished to date rather than the negative.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me go to Michael D'Antonio. Because you have spoken to him over many months while you did that biography and obviously you
followed him. He also doesn't wear a mask and we understand that it's a visual thing, it's an optics thing. He thinks it doesn't look good, it
doesn't make him, you know, look strong. It makes him look weak. You tell me what you think about some of the points I made to David and also the
mask thing. What do you think is going through his head? What drives him?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": Well, I think one of the things that's obvious and that the president said to me many times was
that he likes to think into the future, that he is forward facing and really doesn't dwell on the past. And I think sometimes he even has trouble
staying rooted in the present because he's anticipating what he might do next and also anticipating who might criticize him and who might appear on
the horizon as an enemy.
So, he's got this very unique, I think, way of doing politics that is about attacking all the time and finding people to create -- or turn into enemies
and then finding ways to engage them. David, I think sounds like a really great conventional politician who might be elected president in another
circumstance. But our president today has introduced this new way and he narrowly won last time. You know, the number of votes that put him over the
top in the electoral college could be fit into a large college football stadium here.
So, he is aware that he has got this narrow path. He wants to energize his base. And he also understands symbols, and gets around to the issue of the
mask. You know, there was a great survey done of tens of thousands of American men about the whole idea of putting on a mask. And a great many of
them thought that it made them look weak, and I think the president is allergic to anything that could suggest that he is not strong and virile
and brave. And there might be an element of being concerned about how it looks but also about what it says and his definition of strength is limited
to the kind of bravery that says, I'm not going to wear a mask and I'll take the risk.
AMANPOUR: And I want to also --
URBAN: So, Christiane --
AMANPOUR: Let's just put aside the fact -- David, let me put aside the fact that there are scientifically proven cases of countries where they use
the mask infections goes down. It is just a reality. What were you going to say, David?
URBAN: I was going to say, I don't know if that's actually -- you can show me the research. I think the W.H.O. -- it's my understanding the W.H.O.
does not recommend wearing the mask. Many countries in Europe aren't wearing masks. I don't what the requirements are in England. I know in
Ireland they're not wearing masks. Lots of countries around the globe are not wearing masks.
AMANPOUR: Many are being been urged to. And you know where these -- where they started in the east, they wear the masks in Asia. And there's a lot of
evidence that is keeping --
URBAN: Well, but the CDC guidelines --
AMANPOUR: -- the infections down.
URBAN: Yes, the CDC guidelines for wearing masks say you should wear a mask if you cannot social distance, if you are in a crowded place.
AMANPOUR: Right, exactly.
URBAN: Right? That's the guidance. So, the president is far apart from people. He is not in an airplane or in the tube commuting back and forth.
In those circumstances, I'd say perhaps a mask may be worthwhile. But in larger circumstances, I think that perhaps a mask may have limited utility.
Look. Dr. Fauci -- there's tape from Dr. Fauci saying, don't wear a mask. Now, wear a mask. I mean, the wearing of masks is very controversial, as
you know, globally not just here in America.
D'ANTONIO: Well, Christiane --
AMANPOUR: No, no. It isn't, David. I'm sorry. It just isn't. It's been good in many, many parts.
D'ANTONIO: Look, this is exactly what I --
AMANPOUR: Can I just --
D'ANTONIO: This is what's done with --
AMANPOUR: We have now politicized masks. Let's move on.
URBAN: I have not politized masks, believe me.
AMANPOUR: What were you going to say? Yes? Michael, what are you saying?
D'ANTONIO: This is the same process that was used to suggest that tobacco doesn't kill or that climate change is not real.
D'ANTONIO: To suggest that there's a controversy about masks is silly. You know, in Taiwan, they instituted a mask shutdown. They had eight deaths
from coronavirus. That would be the equivalent of fewer than 100 deaths in America. Masks work. They protect you, they protect me, they're used and
recommended worldwide. The W.H.O. does recommend that people wear a mask in almost every setting. And there's no worse place than the White House to
contract a virus that's a very enclosed, cramped quarters.
AMANPOUR: As we have seen.
D'ANTONIO: Yes. I mean, it's just --
AMANPOUR: As we have seen.
D'ANTONIO: This is -- it's silly.
URBAN: So, again --
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you before I move on. Yes. Hold on a second. It is clear -- anyway, let me just carry on about this because something was
said by another biographer and want you to weigh in on this because it was really very -- it was quite shocking. Tony Schwartz who co-wrote "The Art
of the Deal" or ghost wrote "The Art of the Deal," he said the following about what he considers the president's lack of empathy. And I want to get
both of you to weigh in on whether this was over the top or do you agree or not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY SCHWARTZ, DONALD TRUMP'S CO-AUTHOR ON "THE ART OF THE DEAL": He has no conscience. And let's be clear, no conscience. And this is really hard
for us to understand. So, he doesn't make a distinction between right or wrong nor does he feel a distinction between right and wrong. He doesn't
care. The deaths -- I know this is extreme, the deaths don't matter to him. If it's his decision between saving himself and saving others, it is no
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: David, what would you say to that? Because it is extreme but there are many people who believe there is a lack of empathy.
URBAN: I think it's ridiculous. I think it's -- it is -- it doesn't even worth my commentary. I can tell you that I have spoken with the president
during this crisis on almost a weekly basis, during periods where the number of deaths in New York were rising and spiking and the president was
very concerned, very empathetic. I could hear it in his voice. The tone of our discussion was markedly different than others. I could tell you that
it's just flat out poppycock.
AMANPOUR: Michael, why do you think Tony would say something like that?
D'ANTONIO: Well, I think the president, if we were to give him the benefit of the doubt, if he feels empathy and is -- a sense of grief or mourning
for these Americans, he has a lot of trouble showing it. You know, his repertoire is generally enthusiastic. He likes to mock people. He likes to
You know, he once told me that he likes fighting. He likes all kinds of fighting, including physical fighting. And I think that's where he gets his
energy and his identity. This role of being the consoler in chief I think is very difficult for him. And I also think he doesn't like to be coached.
And so, if someone were to say, now is the time to say something heartfelt, he would try but it would be difficult for him.
So, I think I understand where Tony is coming from because it's hard to see and I have never met a more brilliant, aggressive competitor than Donald
Trump. He is fast forward all the time. And a person like that can skip over certain emotional notes that the rest of us would sound.
I think seeing him perhaps have a national memorial service for the dead in this case, even if it's held at a distance and even if everybody's wearing
a mask, would go a long way to demonstrating to the country that he gets it. But, you know, David's his adviser. I'm not. It's the kind of thing I
would encourage him to do.
AMANPOUR: David, would you encourage that? Do you think it's even likely?
URBAN: Look. I think that it is -- obviously, we mourn the folks who have passed every day. Their families, they cannot be replaced. It is a tragedy,
like this country and the globe has never seen. I think that there, you know, would be a good thing to help heal the country at some point. But,
Christiane, when is that point? Michael, when is that point? I'm not sure when we're through this and what would be the appropriate time to do that.
I would encourage the country (INAUDIBLE) coming together, it's a time to heal. But I'm not sure we're there yet.
D'ANTONIO: Well, I think he could have done it even this weekend. You know, you he could have gone to church. You know, he's opening the churches
but it comes across as a political thing, as a symbol of defiance that identifies with the president. But if he were to say, let's all come
together for a moment of silence on any given Sunday and perhaps on lean or on television, I'll be with a clergyman or a group of clergy people of my
choice and we'll pray for America. I think that would demonstrate faith in action and a level of compassion that a lot of people fear the president
URBAN: Yes, but --
AMANPOUR: David, kind of an important point there because the president came out and said that he was in charge of opening all the places of
worship, whatever the governor says. It is an important point, isn't it? I mean, why wouldn't he go to church if he just ordered them all opened?
URBAN: We didn't really -- he didn't order them open. As you know, the president, and as you have seen, right, from all the different governors --
AMANPOUR: But he did. He said -- he did.
URBAN: They should open. He encouraged them to open.
AMANPOUR: And he said the governors would not be able to overrule him. Yes.
URBAN: He encouraged churches to open. Look. I -- Michael's been at this. He is a smart guy. He knows this. If the president had faith leaders in the
White House or went to a church and prayed, he would be derided for doing so as a photo-op. He doesn't believe it. You know, there is -- the
detractors will never cease.
So, I like the idea, Michael. I believe that, at some point, it is not just for this president but for our country the right thing to do.
AMANPOUR: I'm sure there wouldn't be actually in a matter this serious. However, let me just -- I need to move on to another issue. Because, David,
you are -- you know, everybody's looking towards the election, as well. There are other things happening in the world, very important election, and
you're on the advisory committee.
And I just want to read a tweet. OK? Because there's a huge controversy now about how Americans can vote. So, this is what the president said this
weekend on Sunday. The United States cannot have all mail-in ballots. It would be the greatest rigged election in history. People grab them from
mailboxes, print thousands of forgeries and force people to sign, also forge names. Some absentee -- OK, when necessary. Trying to use COVID for
So, you know, David, I know that you know this because study after study just says there isn't that kind of fraud. The Brennan Center for Justice
said in, you know, 2017 the risk is 0.00004 percent and even less of fraud. So, what is going on here? Why immediately do the whammy against mail-in
where that may be what's required in this pandemic situation?
URBAN: Well, I do -- I don't necessarily agree. I can -- you know, we can cite study. You can cite a stury, I can cite study where, you know, there
are, you know, voter harvesting and ballot fraud. And just last week, maybe the week before, a judge in -- you know, an election judge in Philadelphia
was found guilty of ballot stuffing. I mean, there's -- there are things that attack the legitimacy of elections, no matter how small, even if it's
.001 or whatever you are saying the Brennan Center alluded to are just bad.
And we have yet to see whether we will need vote by mail in November. November is a long way away, long way away. So, I would say, we're going to
do the exhale here, we can still have elections, we could still have a campaign as we did in years before. I don't know why all of a sudden, we
need to vote by mail as opposed to how we voted for past 200 years in this country.
AMANPOUR: Well, because of this issue here, because of this potential pandemic. But can I just say, it's not 0.001, it's 0.00004 percent to 9
percent. And President Trump's own commission on election integrity spent eight months from 2017 to 2018 probing voter fraud claims in the 2016
election and couldn't confirm a single case. So, you know, that's the president's own --
URBAN: So, you said -- the Brennan study said -- you said the Brennan study said up to 9 percent?
AMANPOUR: No, no, no. Not 9 percent. 0.00009. It was from 00004 to 00009. So, it's very miniscule.
URBAN: And as Michael --
AMANPOUR: And the president's own commission failed. But the point here is, are we concerned about the election taking place? Michael, what do you
D'ANTONIO: I'm not terribly concerned about the election taking place. I think we'll have an election. I think it's noteworthy that four of the
states very much went for Trump in 2016, Nebraska, Iowa, Georgia and West Virginia that are controlled by Republican voter officials and governors
all want all mail-in ballots this coming year. They have mailed requests for mail-in ballots to every voter in their state.
There's not a big controversy around the idea of fraud and mail-in ballots. There are several states that have been doing it for decades. What I think
people are most concerned about is that there will be a second spike, maybe even a third spike in COVID-19 and that they'll have to choose between
risking their lives and voting. And if we make sure that people don't have to make that choice, this is an extreme circumstance.
Again, the president could demonstrate his confidence in the American people and his confidence in his own campaign and say, well, I know that I
can win this election, and say there's that 0.000049 percent of voter fraud, I certainly can overcome that because the people love me. And you
certainly suggest that the people love him and that he'll win going away.
URBAN: I just think --
AMANPOUR: So, David, just last words to you on this. Are you concerned? Can you assure us that it's not postponed or canceled, the election?
URBAN: No, absolutely, no.
AMANPOUR: Because fears -- there are fears, as you can imagine and these tweets --
URBAN: No. Zero fears. Election's being held. It's going to go down. It is not going to be postponed. No way, shape or form. And I think Michael's
narrative -- it's a false choice, either die or vote. That is -- you know, people are going out in America at the very, very peak, the worst times,
people were going to the grocery store. They were going to the convenience store. They could surely -- if voting is that important, they can go vote.
They were doing so -- they were heading out of the homes here at record numbers even during the peak of the pandemic. So, voting or dying is a
AMANPOUR: So, just very quickly, David, even if they can't do it in person, where some places they will be able to, some places they may not be
able to, that is going to happen?
URBAN: Absolutely. Election will go through.
URBAN: And, again, like Michael says, it will be very close. No matter -- it's going to be a very close election again.
AMANPOUR: It's going to happen, though. OK. David Urban, adviser to the president, thank you very much, indeed. Michael D'Antonio, author of the
biography of President Trump or when he was Donald Trump, thank you very much indeed.
And of course, Michael D'Antonio's next book is called "The Hunting of Hillary," and it is about Trump's 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton.
But my next guest has beaten him to the punch with an account of a Hillary that never was in her new novel. Author Curtis Sittenfeld takes a very
different fork in the road, one where Hillary dumps Bill, never marries, pursues a career and yes, does run for president. Titled simply "Rodham."
It's been whipping up lots of buzz and even more questions. And Curtis Sittenfeld joins us now with answers from Minneapolis.
Welcome to the program.
So, the book is called "Rodham." I want to ask you about the cover picture, but hold on. First, I want to ask you, why? What made you take that fork in
the road? What made you imagine an alternative set of facts for Hillary Clinton's life?
CURTIS SITTENFELD, AUTHOR, "RODHAM": Well, I feel like there are a few reasons. One reason, I mean, I definitely a Democrat and, you know, was
very disappointed after the 2016 election. So, I think some of it was wanting to create alternate universe. But also, I had the realization that
in 2016, school children who knew that Hillary was running for president, in some cases, literally didn't know that Bill Clinton existed or that he
had been president.
And so, I thought it was very -- it was a very interesting thought experiment to imagine if American voters who are adults also hadn't seen
the Clintons as so interconnected.
AMANPOUR: And you say and a lot of reviewers have said, you know, for all the time she's been a known name and known quantity, it's all about what
people think of her. And this is, you know, what she thinks of people and things in a different way than -- obviously, because it's fiction, than we
have ever seen portrayed before.
What are you saying or what are you saying for people who have not read the book yet about how she views the world? What is her lens that you give her,
you know, in the context of what we know how she's been portrayed?
SITTENFELD: Well, it is important for me to say, it definitely is a novel. And unlike you, I have never met Hillary Clinton. So, it's not as if I have
-- I mean, I think -- I like to think I have sort of special creativity or imagination, but I do not have special access into Hillary Clinton's brain.
But I do think -- I mean, she's been so scrutinized for 30 years, close to 30 years. And we do -- we always think in terms of like what does she
represent or what does she symbolize but I think that that sort of underestimates her as a person and I wanted to think about, yes, exactly as
you were saying, not what do the American people think of Hillary but what does Hillary think of the American people.
AMANPOUR: So, give us a little nut. What does Hillary think of the American people? Give us just in the short synopsis.
SITTENFELD: Well, I mean, I think my version of Hillary -- and I think -- again, I did do a lot of research even though I have not met her. But I
think of Hillary as a very warm person. You know, a very -- like she has these close loyal friendships that have lasted decades. I think she has
this very endearing laugh. And so, to me I mean, I think that she's so many of the sort of, you know, public stereotypes of her to me seem like they
have actually no relationship to reality. I mean, it's just -- it's sort of life America working out its feelings about women and power and ambition
and projecting them on to this one individual.
AMANPOUR: So, Curtis, you know, everybody's focused on the amount of sex and lust and flirtatious novel stuff that you have written there. And, you
know, you take a story which is real from college to law school to meeting Bill Clinton to having the romance, all of that is documented fact. But you
also -- you know, a lot of people have been quite surprised by some of the more intimate passages that you describe.
But then -- which you have made up, obviously, but then there's a part that kind of sort of dovetails with reality where you describe Hillary where
she's speaking about when the two of them, Bill and her, we are at a DNC sponsored youth conference where she gave a speech. And early in the night,
she had caught sight of Bill flirting with another woman. Here's from your book in her words. I could hardly concentrate. Even though I'd given the
DNC organizers what they asked for that night, I'd been preoccupied. My preoccupation left me exhausted and ashamed. I felt pathetic. It was clear
that I couldn't live like this and certainly not for decades. I had to either break up with Bill or trust him.
Describe where you're going with all of this. And also, because you said that, you know, when you read Bill Clinton's biography, when you were
writing lot of this, you kind of -- I mean, you sort of fell for him, too. You get it.
SITTENFELD: Well, first, I have to say that I think that my book sounds lovely in your voice. I mean, I do -- I actually -- so the premise of the
book is what if Hillary hadn't married Bill. And partly, the reason that premise seemed plausible to me is knowing she said no the first two times
he proposed and she said yes only the third time.
And so, my version is not that she never met him or not that she never fell in love with him, it's the -- and not even that he didn't propose twice,
it's the third time she basically said no instead of yes. And so, I felt like it was important for me as the writer to kind of understand his charms
and to be able to convey those to the reader. And, you know, like if you see a romantic comedy and you never buy into the couple's sort of affection
or love for each other in the beginning then you don't care if they get together or stay apart or it doesn't matter what challenges they face.
So, I feel like -- I mean, I did -- there are sex scenes in the book. I feel like it's about two people falling in love, wondering if they should
get married and I think that that's realistic. If you're falling in love with another person, like you know if you have kissed or not or if you have
said I love you or not. So, to me, it seemed like a really natural part of the story.
AMANPOUR: So, everybody who knows them says that there is that very deep connection, despite everything, that deep physical and intellectual and
In the book, when Hillary, in your telling, takes a different course and does not marry Bill Clinton, she says, in your words: "The margin between
staying and leaving was so thin. Really, it could have gone either way."
And then you have Bill telling her: "You shouldn't marry me. You should leave. I will drag you down."
That's complicated. What made you get into their heads? And, I mean, do you think that that might -- should have happened? What made you -- what gave
you the license to say that stuff?
SITTENFELD: Well, you know, I think to be a novelist is to sort of -- I don't know, to some extent be presumptuous of human nature or to feel
entitled to take certain stories and just run with them.
And, again, I never pretend that, like, I know Hillary. I did a lot of research, but it was all with publicly available books. So I would never
pretend that this is like -- supposed to be an accurate representation of what did happen.
And, in fact, it's speculative fiction or alternate history. Like, it's -- you couldn't read the whole book and think that it literally happened.
But I feel like fiction is this way of kind of, I don't know, imagining someone's life in a very intimate, personal, granular way, that almost you
can't -- you can't access in, you know, a nonfiction profile or -- I mean, again, I actually have a lot of respect for -- I mean, the news media is a
large category, but for many elements of the news media, I have a lot of respect
So, it's not to diminish what you can do. But I think there are certain sort of ways that get at our private experiences, that that's sort of the
point of novels.
AMANPOUR: Do you happen to have any idea, do you know whether she's read it? Has Bill read it? Have you -- has she commented on it? Do you know
anything like that?
SITTENFELD: So, to my knowledge, neither of them has read it.
And I would expect that they won't. I mean, I -- obviously, they can if they want to, certainly. And I would even -- I would welcome her feedback,
even if what she said is, like, this is kind of ridiculous.
But, I mean, yes, I think that -- I sort of think of it in the context of, like, there are nutcrackers made out of Hillary's likeness. There's all
sorts of T-shirts overtly mocking her. And I feel like what I did -- and I do understand. It's not as if I don't understand why some people feel
queasy about this.
But I feel like to sincerely imagine what the world looks like from someone else's point of view, to me, is essentially an act of compassion. And I
really admire her. I would never write a novel from the point of view or with a main character that I did not essentially admire and respect.
AMANPOUR: So, let's get to the reality now, because, in 1992, when Bill was running for president, there was all these allegations, of course, we
now know is part of history, women, et cetera.
And the two of them did actually a real interview with "60 Minutes" and it was considered -- her performance there was considered a major, major plus
set him on the road to a successful campaign.
Here is part of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There isn't a person watching this, who would feel comfortable sitting on this couch detailing
everything that ever went on in their life or their marriage.
And I think it's real dangerous in this country if we don't have some zone of privacy for everybody. I'm not sitting here as some little woman
standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette. I'm sitting here because I love him and I respect him, and I honor what he's been through and what we have been
And if that's not enough for people, then, heck, don't vote for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I find that really, really interesting, in context of what one of the reviews said.
And I want to read it to you. This is from Slate by Laura Miller. You talk about how and people know that there was a love story there.
So, it says, "How could an abject slave to love become a highly paid corporate lawyer who refused to bake cookies? And why would a creature of
pure ambition bother to marry a man who sidetracked her career to Arkansas? Hillary Clinton was like a computer program that, when fed into the
stereotype-driven psyche of the popular imagination, broke the machine."
And isn't that the ultimate dilemma of what people wrestle with about Hillary Clinton?
SITTENFELD: Well, I don't think that Hillary is a computer program.
SITTENFELD: I mean, I think she's a person.
And I think, does she have contradictions? Yes. Do we all have contradictions? Yes. Like, I mean, what adult can't understand sort of
having, like, conflicting impulses, or sometimes making the wrong choice, or -- that doesn't seem strange at all to me.
And, I mean, there's this public idea of Hillary is -- the word that's often used is unknowable, which I really -- I think that says more about
what we ask of female public figures and how sort of cozy we expect them to be with us, because I would not say she's more unknowable than say, like,
Mitt Romney or Pete Buttigieg.
Like, what is knowability?
AMANPOUR: That's really a very interesting point.
And, anyway, you point out afterwards that she does go on to run for president. I'm not going to do all the spoilers and this and that, but, as
Hillary Rodham and not Hillary Clinton.
So, in our final 30 seconds, I just want to put up something that you did while in lockdown. I just wonder how you feel about this book coming out in
this sort of lockdown moment, and that famous tweet that you did of yourself in your own wedding dress that went viral all over the place?
We're going to put up the picture.
So, talk to me a little bit about the book coming out now and how that came about.
SITTENFELD: Well, thing that I would say about the book coming out now is I feel like, just as a reader, I love when a book kind of immerses me in
this other world and takes me away and entertains me and distracts me and provokes me.
And I hope -- I think that, for the right readers, which is not everybody, I think, and I hope that "Rodham" can do that. So I have not worn my
wedding dress, except on that day, when my children jokingly asked me to. And I do not plan to perhaps ever again.
AMANPOUR: Curtis Sittenfeld, thank you so much, author of "Rodham."
Thank you for joining us.
Now, if you're on a waiting list for an elite top-tier university, you might be getting a call this year. That is the prediction from NYU
Professor Scott Galloway. He's the host of the new show on VICE. It's called "No Mercy, No Malice."
And it pulls back the curtain on the decisions and players driving the economy in America. He also co-hosts the podcast "Pivot" with tech reporter
And here is telling our Hari Sreenivasan why this might be a good time for students to take a gap year.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks so much.
Scott Galloway, when you talk about higher education, a lot of people hear you on podcasts, and they see you on TV. They don't know that part of one
of your many gigs is as a professor.
So I want to kind of look at higher education, maybe break that down into different groups and how they're going to be affected.
First, let's talk about how our students that are going to higher education now, through the time of COVID, what's life like if we get to a post or in
this new reality?
SCOTT GALLOWAY, NYU STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Well, three-quarters say that their experience has already been severely diminished.
There's -- the X-factor here, just let me put at the outset, is if and when we get a vaccine, because you could see things hopefully return somewhat to
normal soon or just not go back there.
The students, I think, across America, along with their families listening on the Zoom classes, are all beginning to wonder, what kind of value, or
lack thereof, they're getting for their tuition dollars?
So, I think there's, one, been a personal disappointment that a lot of kids didn't get to go through commencement. They didn't get to finish their
college year in a in a manner that they had become accustomed to, and say there's generally a recognition or a disappointment across America.
And I would argue that it's not that they're disappointed in the Zoom classes. It's more the recognition that Zoom has uncovered how
disappointing college education is.
I think there's a lot of households saying, this is what we're paying for? So it's affecting different stakeholders in a different way across America.
SREENIVASAN: So, what happens to institutions?
I mean, you study business. You talk about it. What happens when some of these students decide, you know what, this doesn't really make sense for me
to pay this much, I think I'm going to drop out? And let's say they decrease revenues, or they're decreasing revenues from the dorm fees that
they're not getting, or the sports teams that might not be having nice lucrative contracts?
GALLOWAY: Yes, or even, going further than that, that kind of one of the secrets of higher education is our cash cow is foreign students.
And you can see that maybe foreign students decide, because they pay full tuition, they might not decide to show up. So, but there's nuanced
argument. The elite, truly high-end universities are going to be fine, because they could -- Harvard -- the head of Harvard admissions has stated
publicly that he could double the size of his freshman class and not sacrifice any quality.
So it's a great time to be on the waiting list of a top-tier university right now, because you're probably going to get a call. So, a lot of people
-- one in four kids are saying they're going to take a gap year, which means that the top universities will reach into their waiting lists, which
will reduce the number of people or the yields to the second-tier universities. They will reach into their waiting lists.
And then you go to the tier-three universities, but there's no waiting list to reach into. So, there's going to be a waterfall. There's going to be
demand destruction, because more people are going to take gap years. More kids are going to take gap years, and you're going to see increased
pressure to lower costs.
So just as equity analysts are looking at which companies have cash on the balance sheet and can survive this shock, you're going to see an incredible
destruction among companies that have the following factors, a tier-two brand, expensive tuition, and low endowments.
There are 4,500 universities in the U.S. You could see 1,000 to 2,000 go out of business in the next five to 10 years. What department stores were
to retail, tier-two, high-tuition universities are about to become to education, and that is, they're soon going to become the walking dead.
SREENIVASAN: So, you're saying basically that the Harvards are going to be left up there, the community college that might provide me some local value
will be around, but the middle just gets eaten up.
GALLOWAY: So, again, the analogy is retail.
Louis Vuitton and Hermes are going to be just fine. Wealthy people are living their best lives in this pandemic. And we don't want to believe
that, but the majority of wealthy people are doing just fine through this pandemic.
Those universities are luxury brands. They are no longer public servants. There are very few -- when you get into Yale, it's a $350,000 commitment at
90-plus points of gross margin. There is no other product in the world that gets six figures-plus and 90-plus points of margin.
Ferrari gets 30 points. Apple gets 25 points. Hermes gets 60. Nothing gets 90 points of gross margin. And this is essentially because these are the
world's strongest luxury brands tapping into the global wealthy. We like to think that there's some remarkable kids from middle-income and low-income
neighborhoods that get in, and that's true.
But, for the most part, it's really the finishing school for the wealthy. They are just fine. They are going to perhaps even expand their
enrollments. And if they wanted to be really aggressive, if 50 percent of your classes go online, you effectively double the size of your campus
But the waterfall down, just as every other industry we're finding, there's going to be a culling of the herd. hand the weaker are going to get cleared
out. But once the culling is done, the strong, the top universities are going to come back even stronger.
SREENIVASAN: So, when you say points and margins, you're just talking about profit?
GALLOWAY: On Monday nights, I teach 170 kids, brand strategy at NYU. We charge each kid $7,000. So, if you do the math, that's $1.2 million in
tuition just for my class 12 nights. That's $100,000 per night intuition.
My agent takes a 95 or 97 percent commission, so you're looking at gross margins of 90-plus points. This is -- there is no luxury brand like higher
education. There is no higher-margin product than education.
And to be blunt, a lot of universities, by this cartel where second-tier or tier-two universities have been able to charge the same price, as we have
this kind of dictum in the U.S. that you're failing as a parent unless you get your kids to college at any price, the result is, we have stuck our
The tuition has skyrocketed 1,400 percent in the last 40 years. It has -- we talk about health care, Hari. Prices -- we have raised prices faster in
education that we have in health care. If you go into an emergency room now vs. 1980, things are much different.
If you go into a class at a university, it does -- looks, smells and feels very similar to 1980. This all spells disruption. And that is, we are -- it
couldn't happen to a more deserving group of people. We have stuck our chins out, and this fist of stone called COVID-19 is going to meet that
SREENIVASAN: So, places like the University of Michigan estimate they might be up to a billion dollars short by the end of the year. Is this the
role of government to try to provide a backstop?
How does the market sort this out?
GALLOWAY: I would argue that we have entered a situation where, unfortunately, America has become a caste system.
And the primary arbiter of that casting isn't like the old caste system in Europe, where it's your name. It's where you get your college degree.
Our government, our culture, our economy is run by people with business degrees and college degrees, despite the fact only a third of America has
So, as public servants, we have taken advantage of that. We have starched out all the surplus margin and embraced tuition so fast. The University of
Now, whether or not there should be some pressure, some of the same pressure businesses and other organizations are feeling to cut costs, I
would argue that universities, us feeling some of that pressure is probably a good thing over the long term. I'm not sure a bailout is -- I worry it
creates the same moral hazard that has led to faculties that and departments around things like leadership and ethics and tenure, which,
quite frankly, I see as nothing but debt on young people.
So, I get why state universities should get more funding. I'm here because of the generosity and vision of California taxpayers and the regions in the
University of California getting near free degrees from UCLA and Berkeley.
I think government funding of public land grant institutions that dramatically expand their freshman seats is warranted. But unless you are
growing your freshman seats faster than the population, you aren't a public servant, you are a luxury brand.
And we should begin taxing endowments. And, quite frankly, some of these universities just deserve to go out of business.
SREENIVASAN: When you talk about tenure as a form of debt on students, explain that.
GALLOWAY: Well, look, the basic notion of tenure to provide academic freedom and protection from people who are saying controversial things,
such that Galileo could make provocative statements and not be burnt at the stake.
The initial notion and tension of tenure makes a lot of sense. And I would argue there are still departments in the humanities, maybe in the law
field, that require a certain level of protection from a current administration or tides of the culture that would not respect the free
thought that you love and value on campus.
I would argue, for example, at business schools, we haven't said anything that controversial, and tenure is nothing but one of the most expensive
guilds. We have social services for the undereducated called welfare and food stamps. And I believe we have social service for the overeducated
And that is, about the time an academic is about to enter his or her most unproductive years, we decide to give them job security that costs $3
million or $4 million over the next 30 or 40 years.
And it creates an environment of a lack of productivity. It creates an environment of a lack of accountability. And it results -- it's not hard to
connect the dot -- it results in young people having more student debt than there is credit card debt, which inhibits household formation.
It inhibits people getting married. It inhibits people taking the risk to start companies, which hurts the economy. So I think tenure, at the end of
the day, should rightfully get serious examination at some of the schools, including mine, where it has just become a form of kind of collegial
compensation that directly results in student debt.
SREENIVASAN: And there's also lawsuits now from parents who are saying, hey, this COVID education is not what I paid for. I want my money back.
Are schools in any position to be able to do that?
GALLOWAY: So, there's 25 pending cases of students in their final year or at universities who have said, this isn't what we signed up for, we want
our money back.
And I -- just in the last two weeks have talked to administrators and leadership at six different universities, and they have a ton of ideas and
a lot of platitudes, we're in this together. And one idea you never hear is that they need to reduce their costs.
And that is coming. And it just seems natural that, when state government funding is being cut, when everyone, from the Department of Justice to
state employees in parks and national services are being cut, that universities should have some of the same pressure to offer a better
product at a lower price.
And that's all this comes down to. There's the credentialing you get from a university, which, quite frankly, is the primary value here, the
certification. There's the education part. And then there's the experience.
If the experience part is dramatically reduced, and the education part is somewhat reduced because of remote learning, should we still be charging
$58,000 or $68,000 or waiting for state or student bailouts?
No, we should be subject to the same pressures as the rest of America. And we also -- there's an opportunity here. We need to dramatically increase
enrollment size, and we need to dramatically decrease costs.
We can no longer have a society where it says that children of rich people are 77 more times likely to get into an elite college and then some
freakishly remarkable kids from middle- and lower-income schools are the ones that get to split all the spoils in our society.
This has become a caste system, and we are the arbiters of it, and it comes down to cost that is just prohibitive for too many households.
So, some of that disruption, some of that pain some of that challenge, I think it's long overdue, Hari.
SREENIVASAN: If you're someone graduating high school right now, should you be thinking about a gap year, while different systems sort themselves
out, prices start to change over the next year?
I mean, what you said earlier, schools almost brag about how many kids they reject. Exclusivity is part of what they're selling.
GALLOWAY: Yes, Hari, we have become drunk on exclusivity.
I think -- and I'm guilty of this. We have lost the script. We're not public servants. We're luxury brands. Every -- deans of the best school
stand up every year and brag that we rejected not 84, not 86 percent of our applicants, but 90 percent of our applicants, which is tantamount to the
head of a homeless shelter bragging that he or she turned away 90 percent of the people that showed up last night.
I don't know where you went to school. I just wouldn't have got into UCLA today. And people say, and they feel proud of it. But what that means is,
that means your son or your daughter isn't getting it.
So we need to massively increase the number of seats. I would argue that you're going to have a lot of gap years. I think, if you have the luxury of
taking a gap year, this is a good year to figure it out, as we at universities try and figure out -- and we will figure this out -- how to
offer some sort of hybrid education or to vaccinate, if you will, the campus environment.
So, it's a great year, if you have the luxury to take a gap.
GALLOWAY: It's also a great time to be on the waiting list for a world- class university. There's never been a better time to be on the waiting list of a world-class university.
So it's all situational. And if you are going to a tier university and somehow decided to swallow that jagged little pill of extraordinary
tuition, I would also rethink it, and call them back and ask for more financial assistance, and really decide, is it worth the money?
The pricing here, we have priced ourselves out of anything resembling a social good. We have priced ourselves out of the affordability of middle-
class homes. So, the disruption is coming. And to be blunt, we deserve it.
SREENIVASAN: This also seems like, beyond education, that if you're already big now, Amazon, for example, that you come out of this even
bigger, that, essentially, you wiped out, you know, a lot of small mom-and- pop businesses on Main Street, on my Main Street, I don't think are going to come back after this.
They didn't have an extra two months' worth of cushion where they didn't have any customers and they were still responsible for costs.
GALLOWAY: Yes, you're exactly right, times 10.
So, if you owned $100 with Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google stock on January 1, after a pandemic, after what is arguably the largest crisis or
the greatest crisis of our generation, even with a great deal of uncertainty around our ability to get out of this crisis, yesterday, more
infections reported than today's, you would have $111.
Those stocks are up 11 percent as we sit here today. And I think what the market is saying is that this culling of the corporate herd only means
Google and Facebook will go from owning 60 cents on the dollar of every digital marketing dollar to 70.
It only means that Amazon is going to become more powerful as they vaccinate the supply chain and e-commerce and grocery goes from 2 percent
of all grocery to 15 percent, which is a transition of $100 billion in grocery spending from terrestrial to online, which will benefit Walmart and
It's as if this pandemic, and to a certain extent our government action around stimulus, has been kind of the Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google
So these companies consolidate the marketplace. They pick up great companies on the cheap. And they have absolutely no problem surviving it.
Google has enough cash on hand to buy Boeing and Airbus just with the cash they have right now. So you're already seeing it, Facebook buying Giphy,
making investments in geomarket.
As every company, 98 percent of the corporate world, is playing defense and furloughing and laying off employees, big tech is on -- off of their heels
and onto their toes, and making acquisitions investments and soaking up the best human capital.
This is dangerous. These companies were too powerful to begin with. They stifle innovation. They avoid taxes. They are not held accountable if their
platforms are weaponized, even if it threatens democracy.
So, it's great to be a shareholder of Amazon, Apple, or Facebook, or Google. I would argue it's bad for citizens and bad for the economy long
run. But just no getting around it, these companies come out of this stronger. When the rains return after the culling of the herd, there's more
foliage for fewer elephants.
And that's what we're going to see here.
SREENIVASAN: All right, the show's called "No Mercy, No Malice." It's on VICE TV.
Scott Galloway, thanks so much for joining us.
GALLOWAY: Thanks, Ari. Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: And also some very hefty tax breaks for some 43,000 Americans who earn than a million dollars are coming through in these bailout plans
So, it's very troubling for the inequality problem in the world and in the United States.
And, finally, as America marks Memorial Day and honors its war dead, we want to mark the passing of Cecile Rol-Tanguy. She was a heroine of the
French Resistance during World War II. She died age 101 on May 8. Remarkably, it was the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe,
Working alongside her husband and resistance leader then, Henri, Cecile is celebrated for risking her life to help liberate Paris from Nazi
occupation. Her obituary described how she famously hid weapons and detonators in her baby's pram or under the turnips in her shopping basket
and smuggled them across the city.
Despite the dangers, she says she never thought of abandoning the resistance.
And that's it for us for now. Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.