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Interview With London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum; Interview With Former U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Anthony Gardner and Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 24, 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, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE NOMINEE: When we think about how to engage China and the competition that it poses, the challenge that it
poses, we really have to start with us, because, in many ways, it's about us.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Meet America's newest top diplomat, but what kind of world will the new administration inherit? I ask
former U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Anthony Gardner and former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON, ENGLAND: Gender equality has to be more than an aspiration.
AMANPOUR: The message is change, as mayors from six of the world's great cities join forces for gender equality. The leaders of London and Mexico
City join me with their new initiative.
LORETTA J. ROSS, SMITH COLLEGE: The people you're criticizing are as complicated as you are, and they are learning, just like you're learning.
AMANPOUR: Professor and activist Loretta J. Ross tells our Michel Martin about challenging cancel culture and calling people in, instead of out.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The transition from the Trump to the Biden administration is now officially under way. The necessary funds and machinery to make way for president-
elect Joe Biden are now authorized. And he is wasting no time announcing key members of his incoming administration. Many are familiar faces with
the Obama era, and there is a clear message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: It's a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure, and it's a team that reflects the fact that
America is back.
The team meets this moment, this team behind me. They embody my core beliefs that America is strongest when it works with its allies.
Collectively, this team has secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory, made possible
through decades of experience, working with our partners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, his pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, speaks volumes about the alliance-driven, multilateral direction of Biden's
But even, as America first is removed from the sloganeering, four years of Trump policy have seen the U.S. withdraw from the Paris climate agreement,
the WHO, the nuclear deal with Iran, and also leave behind an empowered China and a diminished transatlantic alliance.
This is a different world than the one Joe Biden left as vice president back in 2017.
So, to discuss what's ahead, former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Anthony Gardner joins me from Italy, and former British Foreign Secretary
and head of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband joins us from New York City.
Gentlemen, welcome to the program.
So, I want -- I'm going to just start with asking you your initial reaction to the foreign policy and national security team that vice -- that
president-elect Joe Biden has just unveiled.
First, you, as an American in Europe, Anthony Gardner.
ANTHONY GARDNER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: Well, look, it's a terrific team. It's a very experienced team.
I have known Tony Blinken for a very long time, as a kid growing up. We went to school together. I worked with him twice in the U.S. government. I
have seen him in the trenches in some really difficult situations with a lot of pressure. He led the interagency effort after Russia invaded
Ukraine, which was very tough to get everyone aligned, but also dealing with big egos around the table.
Not only does he have the right professional qualifications. He also is an exceptional individual. It's very hard to find anyone in the U.S.
government that have a negative word to say about Tony Blinken. And that's extremely rare.
And he believes -- as you just said in the clip, he believes in allies working with our friends in Europe to achieve results, particularly with
China and Russia and other challenges.
AMANPOUR: So, David Miliband, with both your hats on, not just humanitarian and refugees-driven, but also as a former foreign secretary,
what do you see as a European? What do you see as the message from president-elect Biden?
DAVID MILIBAND, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I think that the most important message from the president-elect was not the word back in
America's back, but the word team that he emphasized so many times in the clip that you played.
Government officials, in my experience, are made by character and characteristics. And this group of people are low on ego, high on
experience, serious about values.
But they are also people who know that there is a time to lead and a time to listen. So, I think this is a moment that sends a very important
message, both to those who are allies of America, get ready for business, we have got work to do. It also says to rivals, we're not going to be
working on our own anymore. We're going to be working with others. We will be looking to cooperate where we can, but we will have to compete in a
range of areas.
And that's going to be done in a serious and developed and cross- governmental way, because this team is not a team of rivals. It's a team of colleagues.
AMANPOUR: So, you yourself have called for the incoming administration to put an extra $20 billion for, I believe, refugees and also to spruce up
their asylum process.
I want to play this little bit, because Tony Blinken's speech was remarkable for his real-life experience, given his parents and his family,
in the issue of humanitarian and international law and refugees. Let's just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLINKEN: For my family, as for so many generations of Americans, America has literally been the last, best hope on Earth.
Vera Blinken fled communist Hungary as a young girl and helped future generations of refugees come to America. My mother, Judith Pisar, builds
bridges between America and the world through arts and culture. She is my greatest champion.
And my late stepfather, Samuel Pisar, he was one of 900 children in his school and Bialystok, Poland, but the only one to survive the Holocaust
after four years in concentration camps.
AMANPOUR: And he went on to say that his stepfather was rescued by an American tank battalion, and the soldier who popped his head out to welcome
him, he made a point of saying, was an African-American. It was really quite remarkable.
But I want to ask you both, then, in terms of actual foreign policy and soft power, what this is.
Let me ask you first, Tony Gardner.
What does this mean? Is it important, that kind of experience? And, if so, why for the foreign policy of a superpower?
GARDNER: It was a formative experience for him.
I knew Sam Pisar, and I know how much of an impact it had on Tony Blinken.
One of the favorite phrases that Tony has used for many years now is that we shouldn't just have -- or we shouldn't just use the example of our
power; we should use the power of our example.
And another phrase he likes using, I think quite correctly, is that we need not just convince people in their minds and their convictions, but also win
over their hearts, of hearts and minds. That's the kind of person he is. And I think it goes all the way back to his years at Harvard as an
He wrote his undergraduate thesis called "Ally vs. Ally." It was on the Soviet (AUDIO GAP) crisis, which really split the alliance, Europe vs. the
United States. And one of the conclusions of that book is that the United States needs to work with its power in a judicious way, and not abuse it,
and that, if we are split in terms of an alliance, we end up harming ourselves.
AMANPOUR: David Miliband, again, this is a big focus for you right now, this, as I said, refugees, asylum.
There's the Mexican-U.S. border. There's all over the world, the Yemen refugees, refugees that are happening right now in Ethiopia, as a war
really gathers pace there, and they're moving into Sudan. Again, what do you hope? And do you really think the politics of America after these four
years will allow a new administration to put that amount of money that you're calling for into this particular issue?
MILIBAND: Well, let me say two things that are very important.
First of all, we're living in the age of COVID. COVID is the central first responsibility for the incoming administration at home. And our argument is
that you have to beat COVID abroad, as well as beat it at home, if you're to get back to any kind of normality.
The $20 billion that we have argued for is specifically to tackle the health impacts of COVID and the collateral economic damage as part of a
global plan to ensure that the international response to COVID matches up to the scale of the domestic response.
Up until now, only a fraction of the attention has been paid to the global consequences, and we need to right this ship.
The second part that is very important speaks directly to Tony Blinken's history, but actually speaks the present, is that we're living in an age of
impunity. We're living in an age when both state and non-state actors again guilty of war crimes and breaches of international humanitarian law around
And I'm afraid that the way in which the administration over the last four years has refused to recognize the rights, for example, of asylum seekers
that you were mentioning has contributed this age of impunity.
This incoming team stands for a rules-based approach to international order. That will start with issues that are close to home to do with health
or climate change, but it will go broader to the bigger geopolitical questions that confront the world that is increasingly interdependent.
Countries are tied together as never before, but the global commons and the rules by which they are governed are weakly enforced.
That is the central challenge this administration needs to lead the world in addressing. And I think that they have the smarts to do it, they have
the values to do it. What they have got to do is build the momentum. And that's not just up to them. It's up to European and other partners around
the world join with them.
AMANPOUR: So, Tony Gardner, you have been the ambassador to the E.U.
Do you think the Europeans are up to this now? Do they see this new -- certainly, the new message, the new administration, or do they think that
these last four years have, in a way, irrevocably changed on the idea of multilateralism and all the other traditional things that the United States
didn't just do, but led?
What do they expect from a new administration?
GARDNER: Well, I think most of the European countries are overjoyed, and included the E.U. institutions are overjoyed by the change of
But, of course, they're worried that this could be washed away in four years. And, of course, there's no guarantee. And all of that means that we
better succeed together. And it means that we -- if we want to go far, we have to go together, and it means that Europe has to ask itself the
questions you suggested.
What can it do to ensure that the model of working with allies within the rules, with institutions is a better way than going unilaterally,
bilaterally, transactionally, which was the Donald Trump way of doing business? And that has failed. Even with the trade deal with China, it's
failed, because, in fact, the trade deficit with China has gone up, it hasn't gone down, and he has singly failed to achieve what he promised to
So, a lot is at stake. And in the work that was done in the transition leading up to the election, a lot of focus was on, what can be done within
18 months, 24 months to prove that case?
AMANPOUR: So, you mentioned China, so I want to go to some specific hard policy issues. And China obviously is one of them. It's a big challenge for
the U.S., but also for Europe.
A couple of months ago, a few months ago, I interviewed Tony Blinken, as he was then, about China. And this is what he said about what had happened
under the four years of the Trump administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLINKEN: Think about this. President Trump has helped China advance its key strategic goals. Weakening American alliances? Check. Leaving a vacuum
in the world for China to try to fill? Check. Abandoning our own values and giving Beijing a green light to trample on human rights and democracy in
Xinjiang or in Hong Kong? Check.
And maybe, worst of all, debasing our own democracy every day by attacking its institutions, its people, its values, and so reducing its appeal.
That's what I like to call checkmate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, he went on to say that the best way to check on China is to really strengthen American values, democracy and all the other
David, as foreign secretary, you have had to deal with a whole load of challenges. What do you see as the biggest challenge? I mean, how should
America or Europe view China? As a competitor? As something to be contained? Some -- what can one do different? Because everybody seems to
think that there has to be some kind of change between the West and China and the relationship.
MILIBAND: Well, I think that China, the country, the civilization, is not just one issue in the foreign policy packet. It's a framing question of
geopolitics in the 21st century.
And the truth is that China is both a rival and a cooperating colleague, and in some places a partner, and in some places a source of confrontation
to the rest of the world.
You only have to think about the clash between India and China over the last couple of months to see that there's room for confrontation, as well
My own view very strongly is that there needs to be an approach of cooperation where possible, competition where necessary, confrontation
where nothing else is possible.
And I think that the fact that we have got the COVID issue and the climate issue as top of the docket allows the U.S. and China to start off on a
I think it's very important not to underestimate that, in this brimming (INAUDIBLE) there are real incentives for the U.S. and for China to
cooperate on both the global health issue and on the climate issue.
It's also important to say that the relations with Europe are not separate from the China issue. They're absolutely integral to it, because it's very,
very important that we don't fall into the trap of seeing the 21st century as simply being a G2 world, the group of two world.
America will be stronger with allies. But it's also the case that we're inevitably living in a more multipolar world. Europe is a regulatory and
environmental superpower already. It needs to be part of the equation. And the fact that it could be an alliance with the U.S. is a very significant
aspect of the new dispensation in Washington.
AMANPOUR: Anthony Gardner, let me ask you, because you have probably read the same articles that I have. And there are a certain number of academics
and liberals inside China, and even in Hong Kong, like the -- Jimmy Lai, who's got the big media empire there, who's also a reformer, but they
actually see President Trump as having stuck it to the Communist Party of China.
And they think that, when it comes to sort of trying to get the claws of the Communist Party out of people's business and their freedoms, that Trump
actually does something that no other president has done.
Do you buy that, even with the caveats you said, the trade tariffs haven't worked, and the trade deal, et cetera, hasn't necessarily -- hasn't worked?
What changes do you think a Biden administration, well, it has to do anyway to confront those aspects of Chinese dominance?
GARDNER: No, I don't I don't agree with that assessment at all.
Donald Trump didn't discover that China is a challenge to Europe and to the United States. Many other presidents understood that and were very tough.
And Obama was one of them about the rights of navigation, about the South China Sea, about the importance of human rights. Those issues aren't going
to go away.
This president-elect is going to focus very much on human rights, something that Donald Trump hasn't done, not with the expectation that we're going to
change China overnight, of course, that won't happen, but because it's an important issue. We need to shine the uncomfortable light on the situation
of the oppressed minorities, in this case, the Muslims in Xinjiang.
But what will change is tactics, tactics, tactics. What matters is how much you get done. And, certainly, in trade, which I mentioned before, very
little has been achieved.
And we're going to achieve more by leveraging the power of our markets. And, believe me, China takes that very seriously. China has not only an
economic program to dominate the industries of the future and to dominate trade, but also write the standards of trade and enshrine its values across
And we're only going to be able to meet that challenge if we work with our allies, not only E.U. but Canada, Japan, Australia and others. That's
what's going to be different.
Now, I just want to say this .I agree completely what David Miliband said. It's not saying that China is just a threat, but also can be a collaborator
on. China is a good example. Xi Jinping made an important announcement, that China wants to be carbon neutral by 2016. Now, let's hold China to
There are other areas as well where we can collaborate and should with China.
AMANPOUR: So, that's fascinating, also that president-elect Biden has actually named a special climate envoy, none other than former Secretary of
State John Kerry, which brings me to the Iran nuclear deal, because he also negotiated that over a long period of time.
Jake Sullivan, who's just been named national security adviser, was also one of those negotiating that. And that is something that Joe Biden said he
wants to reenter.
So, David Miliband, can he -- I mean, obviously, Europeans are already trying to reach out to this administration to try to get back into this
deal in some way.
How do you -- I mean, the Iranians have said they want to as well, but it's probably not that simple. Where do you see the areas of progress on that
MILIBAND: Well, first of all, the vital point to remember is that the question of the Iranian nuclear program sits at the middle of bigger
questions about the changing region of the Middle East.
At the moment, the top item on the docket for the incoming administration is going to be the Yemen conflict. It's the largest humanitarian
catastrophe in the world.
Eighty million people depend on international humanitarian aid, a completely failed and misbegotten war strategy of the Saudi-led coalition,
which actually started before the Trump administration came in, but which is now widely recognized to have completely failed both in its political
goals, because Iran has got stronger in Yemen over the last five years, not weaker, and also, of course, this humanitarian catastrophe.
So, I think the first thing to say is that there are really biting diplomatic needs that are going to command tension.
Now, you're right to also say that the Iranian nuclear program is one which is now further advanced from when the Iran nuclear program was in operation
There are two sides to every negotiation. I think the first thing to say is, it's going to be very important that the us rejoins not just with
Europeans, but with Russia and China. Remember, it was a P5, the permanent members of the Security Council...
MILIBAND: ... all together with Germany who negotiated with Iran.
Secondly, there's going to have to be a very careful calculation about the right amount of pressure and engagement that is put on Iran, because the
secret of success under the Obama administration for the Iranian nuclear deal was that combination of both pressure and engagement.
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating, because, obviously, the secret of the Trump administration has been to encourage and enable Israel, the Gulf
states and Saudi Arabia against Iran.
Where do you see that going on a new administration, Anthony Gardner?
GARDNER: Well, I -- every effort will be made to save the Iran nuclear negotiations.
But a lot of water has gone under the bridge. David is the expert here. It -- there may be some significant pressure, including from Congress, to
consider expanding the scope of the deal, perhaps even the term of the deal. And we will see whether that will occur.
The Iranians haven't gotten the benefit of the bargain that they thought they were going to get in terms of the economic benefits. But I agree
completely with the analysis that the region is not any safer from the fact that the United States has walked away from that.
There are some things that Donald Trump administration has done which are indeed achievements. We just saw news in the last 24 hours that Prime
Minister Netanyahu apparently traveled secretly to Saudi Arabia. That's an incredible piece of news. And three Arab countries have recognized Israel
and made peace with Israel. Those are achievements.
But I just want to say that it seems to me rather extraordinary to think that we can actually reach a lasting peace in the region without the
inclusion, participation of a partner, and an important partner, the Palestinian people.
So I suspect that is going to change. It won't be an emphasis of simply putting peace agreements on the table and say, sign on the dotted line.
AMANPOUR: Thank you both so much, Anthony Gardner and David Miliband. Thank you for all this perspective. A lot to look forward to and analyze as
we go on. Thanks a lot.
And now we switch our lens from nations to cities as drivers of change; 257 years, what's that? That is how long it'll take to close the gender gap in
economic participation and opportunity between men and women based on current trends. And that is according to the World Economic Forum, but not
if we do something about it.
And that is the message from six mayors from some of the world's largest cities on four different continents. A new international initiative called
CHANGE looks at local government as the solution to problems of equality facing women.
And I discussed all of this with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum.
AMANPOUR: Mayors, welcome to the program.
First of all, to you, Mayor Sheinbaum in Mexico City, what has COVID done to the cities?
I mean, we hear a lot, particularly in relation to gender, as we are discussing right now. How have women been affected in Mexico City?
CLAUDIA SHEINBAUM, MAYOR OF MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: Well, COVID has affected a lot in Mexico City. It has been very, very difficult.
And it has hit very hard, and especially for women have been difficult, not only in terms of violence inside the household size, inside the houses,
but, right now, it is very difficult because children haven't gone to school for eight months since now.
So, as you know, most of the children are taken care by women. So, women that used to go to work now are -- have to be with the children. So this
has made a very, very difficult time for many families. And it has touched everything.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Obviously, there's a big difference between the resources of a rich city like London and perhaps not so resource-rich in Mexico City. So, I want to
ask you what this pandemic has done to women.
And let me just start by reading you from the McKinsey Global report that found, in the United States, women made out 43 percent of the work force,
but accounted for 56 percent of COVID-related job losses.
Do you see anything similar here in London?
One of the reasons we were keen to set up this network of great cities across the globe was to share our experiences, but also some of the
Now, COVID hasn't been some great leveler. We all may be facing the same storm, but we're in different size boats. What we have noticed in London
is, yes, there have been catastrophic health and economic consequences, but the impacts on women, economically, socially and psychologically, has been
far worse than on men.
I will give you an amazing number, which is, if you're a mother, you're 50 percent more likely to have lost your job or resigned than if you're a
father, and for the reasons that the mayor of Mexico City said,. It's women, moms who have been doing the child care arrangements while children
have been at home.
It's been the moms, the mothers been doing the homeschooling. And what we have got to realize is, actually, what COVID has done is both amplified the
inequalities that exist, as well as highlight them as well.
AMANPOUR: So, what are you doing? Let me just stick with you for a moment, Mayor, Mayor Sadiq Khan.
What are you doing actually in this city? Or what do you hope that this CHANGE agenda that you're calling for, will do to protect the most
vulnerable, in this case, the women?
KHAN: Well, one of the things that we have noticed, as mayors, is, actually, national governments are very slow to respond to what's happening
on the ground.
Mayors and cities can be far more nimble and quicker. So, in London, we have invested millions of pounds of money in giving women who are the
victims and survivors of domestic abuse, which has shot up at during the lockdown. Respites, they have got more refugees, more hotels, more places
to go to.
We have invested in relation to the skills agenda a 300 million-pound budget that's helping women in particular upskill, get the skills they need
to get a job, those women who've lost their jobs. We're supporting women when it comes to the support they need during this pandemic.
There's an amazing number in London -- I'm sure it's the case in the other cities around the globe -- where issues that eight out of 10 of the lowest
paid jobs are done by women. So, if we can upskill women, give them the skills that are future-proof for better-paid jobs, we can get them out of
the poorer-paid jobs that are more susceptible to this pandemic into safer jobs that are more secure for them and their families.
AMANPOUR: So, let me turn to you, Mayor Sheinbaum, because you started by talking about the violence against women, particularly in this pandemic
time, with everybody sort of crammed in and no way to escape.
There have been a huge uptick in calls by women to emergency hot lines, and a big increase in domestic abuse and murders. Is it a real worry for you,
and what can you do, as a mayor, particularly in this time to protect women?
SHEINBAUM: During the three more dramatic months of pandemia in Mexico City, we increased the scholarships for all the children in Mexico City
that go to public schools.
And right now, we're giving a food support for all the children. It's -- we're talking about 1,200,000 children from 3 to 15 years old in the city.
The other thing is that we have an agenda related to reduction of violence for women in the city. And this agenda started last year. We also are --
sanctioned what we call the violence in digital, in social media. We also approved a DNA bank for sexual aggressors.
And also, a very important law, we are protecting women that suffer from violence at home. We are -- we are guaranteed that the aggressor has to go
out of the house, independently of the ownership of the house.
AMANPOUR: What sort of strength in numbers, what sort of, I don't know, help do you think you get, assistance, from being part of this new
SHEINBAUM: Well, it's very, very important, because many cities have lived this problem related to violence for women and also support for women in
And I think it is very important the hey experienced that have lived many, many other cities in terms of public policies. And we can learn a lot. And
we can discuss some of these problems that we share together just only to live in cities, and especially for women.
So it's -- for us, it's very important, this network that is formed.
AMANPOUR: Sadiq Khan, you have said in the past -- and let me get it correct -- that cities are the political future.
You know, you said the 19th century was about empire, the 20th about nations, and the 21st will be about cities. What do you mean by that,
particularly now at the end of 2020, at the end of this extraordinary year, and while everybody's talking about building back better after this
KHAN: What we've seen across the globe a greater organization, more and more people moving two cities and living in cities, this is the reality we
face. What we're going to do is not be scared of that growth in our cities but to plan for it, and what you're saying is mayors being incredibly
nimble and setting up networks to work closer to get the share best practice, to have big C collaboration and small C competition.
So, we work close together in areas like climate change, in areas to do with culture. And what the latest network is about is cities working closer
together to tackle sexism, misogyny and gender-based injustices, making sure that we can, you know, copy best ideas that we've got but also this
sense of solidarity is so important. The realities in London, in my view, the most progressive in the world, if you're born a girl, your life child
is lesser than if you're a boy. That can't be right in 2020.
AMANPOUR: Indeed. And I just wonder whether you're also are thinking about tackling the gender pay gap in these cities as part of the initiative
because, you know, you're talking about best practices, Sadiq Khan, and you've seen possibly New Zealand just recently has taken on a whole raft of
initiatives and laws actually to talk about pay equity rather than equal pay. It basically means getting paid for an equal amount of work.
What do you take from that, and do you have any ideas about how to close this gap?
KHAN: Well, (INAUDIBLE) a political friend, she was here in city hall speaking to young children with Ashley and Justin Trudeau to inspire and
encourage them not to be embarrassed but to be proud of being feminist, to explain what it means to be a feminist. And we're emulating a number of
policies that progresses like Jacinda Ardern had me doing in New Zealand.
So, in city hall, we think it's really important to be transparent. When I became mayor, nobody knew, for example, what the pay of our staff were. I
published it and discovered, lo and behold, men were getting paid far more than women extensively because in the senior position tentatively blokes
doing the jobs, in the junior positions, women. We've changed that around. Seven of the 10 deputy mayors in that gray city are women. The Metropolitan
police commissioner is a woman. We appointed the first woman commissioner, and we've reduced that pay gap that there used to be, so it's now almost
And it's really important for us to recognize it. Those that say that there aren't talented women and that's why they can't appoint them, my message to
them is, you're mixing with the wrong people and looking in the wrong places. And that's why, additionally, we've set up sponsorship schemes to
make sure that our newer talented women, whether it's middle management or senior management, have the sponsorship and the support they need to get
the top jobs. It's really important.
I'm a firm believer you can't be it if you can't see it. And that's why we're so proud that the vice president elect of one of the greatest
countries in the world is Kamala Harris, a woman and indeed a woman of color.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, that's really interesting. Let me ask can you, Mayor Sheinbaum, do you have the same feeling, the same reaction to the fact that
the new vice president of the United States is not just a woman but a woman of color, first time ever?
SHEINBAUM: Oh, that's very, very important. What she represents, I mean, that's very important for women all over the world because I think one of
the things that's important is an example, it's not just laws and regulations, which is very, very important, but also the example of having
a woman elected as vice president of the United States or a chief of government that it's women. In my case, for example, in the case of the
federal government, half of the cabinet are women, and that's very important as an example for all this side.
AMANPOUR: And let me finally end with you, Mayor Khan. You and President Trump famously sparred throughout the four years, and it was on the values
actually, and I think it started perhaps with the Muslim ban that you spoke up very prominently about, and I think I might have been a mediator in some
of these or rather the interlocutor in some of these comments that have been flying around the Atlantic. So, a long way of saying the transition is
now officially under way. President trump has apparently bowed to reality. How do you see things being different under a Biden administration?
KHAN: Well, I've got to tell you for those watching in the USA, we in the U.K. are incredibly excited by the election in the U.S. and the fact that
there will be a Biden/Harris team in the White House, President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris. It's really important for Americans to
realize that many of us around the world love America, love Americans and you are the beacon for a whole host of thing, liberty, freedom, human
rights, equality and many of us revere your country,
But over the last four years I'm afraid the tone that your president has set has led to many of us asking and searching questions about the special
relationship about what America stands for. And to show that democracy works and to show what a great country America is, the American people have
chosen a different path over the next at least four years and we're really excited that you're going to rejoin the climate change agreement, excited
that you're going to continue to play a prominent role in the W.H.O., excited about the role you're going to play in NATO and the United Nations.
And, you know, for the rest of us, not just in London, the U.K. and Europe and around the world, we're looking forward to the Biden/Harris
presidentship and we're really excited.
AMANPOUR: And I guess lastly to you then, Mayor Sheinbaum, Mexicans have been the target of the current Trump administration, particularly at the
border. Do you have a view as to whether that will change under a new administration in do you think it should change?
SHEINBAUM: I mean, we have to defend the people that live in the U.S., especially Mexican people. For example, cities as Los Angeles are -- have
millions and millions of Mexicans living there, my sister lives. So, I think we have to defense the Mexican people that lives in the U.S. against
any discrimination. And in that sense, that's our policy.
AMANPOUR: Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum and Mayor Sadiq Khan, thank you both very much for joining me.
SHEINBAUM: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And just to note, to mark the passing of another mayor, David Dinkins, the first black mayor of New York City. He died on Monday at the
age of 93, and he spent his life trying to improve race relations and champion economic equality in his city and beyond.
Now, creating conversations across borders like my previous guests are trying to do is hard enough, but in the wild west of the internet it can be
even tougher, especially when one perceived misstep can see someone called out or cancelled. These two things can close down dialogue without
remedying the problem, and that's the view of my next guest. Smith College visiting associate professor, Loretta J. Ross. Here she is speaking to our
Michel Martin about teaching a class on exactly that subject.
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Professor Ross, thank you so much for joining us.
LORETTA J. ROSS, VISITING ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SMITH COLLEGE: Thanks for having me on your show.
MARTIN: You know, you've had such a long and varied career both in the academy and in activism. I'm just wondering how you brought all that
together with this chorus at Smith on cancel culture.
ROSS: Well, actually I had a longer career in activism than I had in the academy. I've only been teaching for five years because I only graduated a
college when I was 55.
ROSS: So, I was an activist. I started out in Washington, D.C. and going to Howard University and became the third executive director of the D.C.
Rape Crisis Center, stayed in the women's movement for a long, long time until 1990 when I became part of the staff of the National Anti-Klan
Network, and that's where I encountered hate groups for the first time and my job was to monitor them and find out about them.
But my boss was Reverend C.T. Vivian and he has said a long time ago when I first came, he said, Loretta, would you ask people to give a paid figure
and you could be there for him when they do, and this like stunned me because I wasn't ready to like not hate the Klan. And in fact, he was
right. And so, working with Leonard Zeskind, my research director, we started doing programming of people who left the hate group, left the neo-
Nazi group, the Klan, the militias, the skinheads and all of that, and that's led me to today because I thought if you can learn how to talk to
the klan, it's ex-klansmen, ex-militias, ex-rapists, you should be able to talk to somebody that made a mistake, that used to blue joke, didn't like
or all of the things that I'm witnessing over social media.
When people are so easy to take events to things that people may or may not know that are offensive and then they want to cancel them for doing it. So,
there's a whole culture of unforgivability (ph) like, you've got to get everything perfectly right when you open up your mouth and you have enough
view of someone find something bad on tape that you said 20 years ago because you can get fired for it.
MARTIN: I understand that your class is very popular, which speaks to the fact that there's a hunger for a way to talk about these issues. Talk to me
a little bit more, if you would, about how -- how did your class work?
ROSS: Well, first of all, on first day of class I tell them, they are no trigger warnings in this class. If you think that you're going to be upset
by anything, you or your classmates say, I really suggest that you drop out right now because we're going to have a frank and honest discussion about
the political issues of the day, of the different ways that we need to become civically minded, you know, students and participants and building
our democracy that's actually never been, because we have to work long ensuring equality justice, it's still a process. A matter of fact, I think
we're in continuing a civil war over what America will be.
And so, I don't (INAUDIBLE) the warnings. I also don't think that learning should be a hazing process. And so, I give them a ton of reading are that I
expect them to do. I tell them that they're going to be reading from both liberal and conservative writers, because you need to have a range of
material available to you to make up your mind, what you believe. And I tell them, don't even believe me because I want you to have that critical
skepticism all of your life.
MARTIN: What effect have you seen on your students? I mean, as you know, of course, conservatives have made this one of their causes particularly on
college campuses, like one conservative senator said the other day that -- you know, who went to Princeton, he says, I couldn't survive at Princeton
now because, you know, cancel culture, you know, would have destroyed me. And so, obviously, conservatives are very -- you know, it's been sort of a
cause among conservatives. But for yourself as a self-described black radical feminist, what effect do you see on your students?
ROSS: Well, first of all, some students are afraid to speak up because they want to get the perfect thought out there before they get pounced on.
But I do want to go back up a little bit when we talk about conservatives. What we are witnessing is people able to democratize free speech. And you
have to understand that everybody with a keyboard can hold you accountable for the words that you said, for the things that you've done. And if you
don't want to get in trouble, stop saying those words, stop doing those things and run in front of the bad stories from your life. I mean, hold up
to your stuff.
But I think it's projection when the right-wing and conservatives talk about the cancel culture and say, we're voicing it on them. I mean, I still
recall them being a little mad about Harry Potter or "The Passion of Christ" or a whole lot of things that they object to in popular culture.
And they are -- right now, they are trying to boycott rainbow-colored Oreo cookies. I mean, for God's sake, they could reference on a gay lifestyle.
And so, it's a bit much for them to claim that it's a problem of the left cancelling them when most of the cancellations, like the bullets go from
the right to the left. But nevertheless, I think it's really important that we start establishing what we call democratic speech environment, where
people use their speech to work towards justice, fairness and equality versus shame, blame and cheap publicity when you blow up somebody's life.
MARTIN: What would that look like?
ROSS: That would look like, first of all, teaching on our campuses the proper use of the First Amendment, there is an obligation for governments
not to violation but private institutions have to prioritize the safety and learning environment of our students. And so, we need to teach them how to
use the First Amendment, teach them not to over react when someone uses the wrong gender pronoun or, you know, use of the outdated word like retarded
or something, but show them that the people you're criticizing are as complicated as you are and they are learning just like you're learning. And
so, we have to embrace and forgiven as we live in this pluralistic society, and we learn that everybody won't have to agree with us to be with us.
And so, a democratic speech environment is something we're talking a lot about in our campuses right now so that we further the goals of democracy
rather than use free speech to bring down democracy, which we were doing the last four years.
MARTIN: You've also seen issues where scholars, I'm thinking about Sir Charles Murray at the American Enterprise Institute, who is retired now,
many people -- you know, there have been people overtime who have felt that his scholarship has speared into kind of racist gradations of people
according to, you know, racist sort of gradations of people's intelligence. I mean, he denies that, but that nevertheless has been his perception some
(INAUDIBLE). Where speeches on campuses have been shut down by students who object to it. How do you see that?
ROSS: Racialized science has no place on modern campuses. There's a good use for science but we, who are scientist -- I majored in chemistry and
physics, I wouldn't invite anybody to the campus that believe that the earth is flat and I'm not going to invite anybody to the campus that
believe there's a racial hierarchy that they use all this bad science to prove just so they can establish themselves as a dominant race. We don't
have to entertain bad science anymore, racialized science anymore. That era is over.
If we actually want to use logic and science, that we want everybody who has a pet theory about that matter to run our science departments, go at
it. But the quality is (INAUDIBLE) and the high caliber students we have. No, not the left. You know, academia, we poison (ph) and are continued to
be poison by racism and rights or privacy and particularly racialized science.
MARTIN: But by that standard now, I mean, some of these students want to hear from these people, and you have to assume --
ROSS: And we have the right to hear from them, but does the college have the obligation to attach the college's name to a flat earth theory? There's
a flat earth society outside the campus. They can easily join but they don't have to speak in our auditoriums and our halls to push what we know
is not evidence-based stuff. We want evidence. That's how you (INAUDIBLE) how you can have a critical mind, how you think and support evidence and
how you (INAUDIBLE). You don't want people's opinions to be paraded as facts and then taught to students because then you fail as an educational
MARTIN: Professor, are there some people who deserve to be cancelled? I mean, is there some element of justice to it that perhaps isn't available
through others means like things that fall in that gray area where, you know, maybe behavior doesn't rise to a level of a legal sanction for
whatever reason? But, you know, social sanction is warranted? Does anybody deserve to be cancelled in your view?
ROSS: Yes. Of course, there's messed up people in the world, and there are people who I would rather not have in my company or in my school or in my
church or whatever. But that's not the majority of people. Most cancellations are done horizontally for people who have the same power you
have, have the -- are not criminals trying to really go out and hurt people, they are just trying to be themselves.
And so, yes, some people probably need a different solution than a wonderful sentence just (INAUDIBLE). Did you believe what was said about
that or, I beg your pardon, that didn't land on me too well. I mean, we can use sentences of invitation to ask people to tell us more instead of
assuming the worst about them and going into a cancellation.
But, yes, of course, we have miscreants that do harm to people, I'm talking real physical criminal harm to people that we need to take care of
appropriately. But that's not what I'm talking begun in the cancel culture. I'm talking about people, really punishing people often for what they
think, what they look like, what they say and really not showing any kind of context or nuance or making them accountable for what they say but doing
it with anger and punishment instead of love and forgiveness.
MARTIN: What's your take on the use of the word safety as a way to initiate cancellation of people? Because what you hear often today is that
people will say, this person's words make me feel unsafe, and what is your thought about that?
ROSS: Well, as part of the founders of the anti-violence movement in this country, I think we started that mess because we overpromised people who
had experienced sexual and domestic violence safety, because we wanted to make it possible for them to tell their stories out for the first time in
their lives and that we were hold their stories in a safe space.
But since the 1970s, and now, safety can be attached to just mere discomfort. I don't like that words you use. You've made me feel unsafe. I
don't like the fact that you got my pronoun wrong, you make me feel unsafe. Oh, I don't like that you're eating meat in my presence, you make me feel
unsafe. I mean, it's just gone to a ludacris level and to where it's almost like we are growing up, expecting the world to (INAUDIBLE) to our highly
individualized need for safety and in a way, we're not developing any stamina or resilience to deal with the world as it is instead of trying to
make it the way we'll be most comfortable and safe.
MARTIN: Expect that violence does begin with words. I mean, I'm thinking about most violence does begin -- for state sponsored violence,
particularly with kids with words. In fact, interpersonal violence often begins with words.
ROSS: Well, I don't think you heard me say anything that words don't have consequences. I think words wound. So, I'm not a First Amendment absolutist
that I believe that all words don't have consequences. I think, words have severe consequences, which is why people should be made accountable for
what they say but I'm still saying, it could be dealt with respect and love instead of punishment in most (INAUDIBLE).
Yes, if you're calling for the massacre or people, if you're calling for ex-communication of people or someone lose their job because you didn't
like their opinion, I think you really need to rethink that opinion out because you have to be responsible for the consequences of your word just
like you expect them to be responsible for the consequences of their words.
We are in a struggle to protect this democracy that is still emerging. We are in a fight of our lives. We are in the greatest human rights struggle
right now that's ever been. And so, words do have consequences whether you are for human rights or whether you're against them, whether you believe
that people have the right to say what they need to say, which I do, because I also have the right to hold them accountable for what they say,
which I also do.
MARTIN: And if people who truly have been harmed by others behavior? We don't have time to give full honor to your own story, but you yourself have
been a survivor or a great harm, a great transgression. You are a survivor of sexual violence and incest and thankfully have lived to -- lived and
thrived. And yet, you know, a great harm has been done to you and to many other people, and do you have thoughts about how -- and in part, now, part
of what's occurring is that people are seeking redress for great harms that have been done to them, sometimes in ways that other people don't agree
with but nevertheless harms have been done. And I just wonder if you have some thoughts about that.
ROSS: Well, hurt people do hurt people. So, a lot of what we see as harm is seeing through a trauma in foreign lands. And so, I'm, of course, a rape
and an incest survivor, and not only did I suffer incest at the hands of my cousin but I ended up parenting his child for 47 years. So, you know, being
a co-parent with your own rapist is not the way you want to become a mother.
And so, I could overreact some time every time I feel that someone is trying to dominate me or intimidate me or shut me down or make female feel
as helpless as I was at 14 or I can put those emotions of that 14-year-old back behind that class wall of memory and separate it from the present. I
can be that. I can do that actually with therapy, that's how I learned to do it. It wasn't automatic.
But I really do think that we don't heal if we won't allow ourselves to heal. I find a lot of people have built such a hardened identity around
being a victim because they don't want to let it go at any cost. And I really want to ask them how well that's working for them. Because victim by
definition is a totally disempowered position to be in. So, you're giving away your own power because you get -- you know, you console yourself by
saying, I'm a victim and everything that I dislike re-victimizes me. I don't see how that works for people.
And so, I really try to say that we can be more forgiving of each other. When I -- even as a rape survivor, I talk (INAUDIBLE) theory to black men
in prison who have raped and murdered women, and that was when I was in my 20s. And so, I'll always going the question, why did we have better
forgiveness practices in the 1970 than I've seen in the 21st century?
MARTIN: Professor Loretta Ross, thank you so much for talking with us. I do hope to talk again.
ROSS: Thank you for having me on the show.
AMANPOUR: And so do I. What an amazing woman and teacher.
And finally, we have been hearing tonight how coronavirus disproportionately threatens the lives and the livelihoods of women. But
despite the pandemic, women are still reaching new heights. Of course, President-Elect Biden has named America's first female treasury secretary,
Janet Yellen, who is in charge of the nation's purse strings. Germany, Europe's largest economy is introducing quotas that will require companies
to put women executives on their boards. And the former Soviet Republic of Moldova has elected its first female president.
And here in the U.K., Oxford University professor, Sarah Gilbert, is winning major plaudits for leading the team that created the latest COVID
vaccine with AstraZeneca, all of this in a day's work.
And that is it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.