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Interview With Former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton; Democracy Under Threat in Nicaragua; President Biden in U.K. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired June 10, 2021 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): As President Biden's democracy tour continues, will meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson deepen the U.S.-U.K.
special relationship or test it further?
We look at the political and personal challenges they face.
NED PRICE, SPOKESPERSON, STATE DEPARTMENT: The United States is imposing sanctions on several members of the Ortega regime who are complicit in the
GOLODRYGA: In Nicaragua, a democracy unravels, as President Daniel Ortega flexes his authoritarian muscle.
I speak with rights activist Bianca Jagger.
Just about every major American city, let alone the suburbs, are experiencing significant crime and increases.
WILLIAM BRATTON, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: America's top cop, Bill Bratton, on walking the middle ground between defund the police
and Blue Lives Matter.
JAMIE METZL, ADVISER, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The thing that we're really worried about is, were they working to make scary viruses even more
GOLODRYGA: A serious look at the COVID lab leak theory. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with WHO adviser Jamie Metzl.
GOLODRYGA: welcome, to the program everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour. Christiane is on medical leave,
but will return very soon.
Now, we begin to show on the windswept shores of Cornwall, England, where U.S. President Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson renewed the
vows of their country's special relationship, signing a new Atlantic charter, the foundational document of modern U.S.-U.K. ties.
But a special relationship between countries does not guarantee a warm alliance between its leaders. Johnson is the face of the Brexit campaign,
Biden a vocal opponent. President Biden is particularly concerned about the consequences of Brexit in Northern Ireland, where new trade restrictions
with the British mainland could undermine the Good Friday peace accord.
As National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters: "That agreement must be protected, and any steps that imperil or undermine it will not be
welcomed by the United States."
Tom McTague takes a deep look at Boris Johnson in his "Atlantic" magazine article "The Minister of Chaos." And Mark Landler is America's Britain
whisperer at "The New York Times."
Both join me now from Cornwall.
Great to have you both.
Mark, let's begin with you.
And talk about these relationships between these two leaders. Obviously, both are well-versed in politics and foreign policy, not necessarily with
each other. President Biden, of course, famously described Boris Johnson as Donald Trump's physical and emotional clone. Of course, they will say that
was the past, now is the present. They exchanged pleasantries before cameras this morning and talked about their wives and how they married up.
But other than that, set the scene for the relationship between the two of them.
MARK LANDLER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, Bianna, as you point out, these are not two leaders who know each other well. It's the first time they have
had a face-to-face meeting, which is interesting, given how long both of them have been in the public eye.
And, as you say, they're philosophically from very different places. Boris Johnson is the face of Brexit. And Joe Biden is on record as saying he
thinks Brexit was a very bad idea.
On Northern Ireland, there's a potential real point of disagreement between the two of them, because Brexit has proven very disruptive in the north, as
you said. And Joe Biden was expected to and I think was likely to have said to Boris Johnson today, whatever you do on Brexit, it can't undermine the
Good Friday Agreement.
This is the agreement that was brokered with the help of President Bill Clinton back in 1998. And it has a great deal of meaning in the Democratic
Party and among prominent Democrats in the U.S., including Nancy Pelosi.
So, Boris Johnson needs to watch very carefully how he handles this -- this very difficult negotiation he's in with the European Union. He doesn't want
to undermine his relationship with the United States.
The two leaders looked like they were putting the best possible face on things today, as you suggested, but these pesky issues could really come
between them, particularly if the negotiations on Northern Ireland go badly, which, at the moment, it looks as if they are.
GOLODRYGA: And so, Tom, let's pick up on that, because this clearly is an issue very important to President Biden and other members of Congress in
the United States, including Nancy Pelosi, as Mark just said.
But in terms of the U.K. approach, and Boris Johnson, in that piece that you wrote about him, he was negative about how Brexit is characterized in
the United States among publications, among journalists, among politicians.
What is his stance on the Northern Ireland issue in particular?
TOM MCTAGUE, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, he sees Britain's position over Northern Ireland as he inherited a problem, that it was a kind of devil's
bargain. Either way he turned, it was going to be a problem, and he accepted sort of the least worst option.
And what that has happened -- what has happened, in his view, is it has created a problem among British unionists who live in Northern Ireland.
They are furious that a border, a trade border has been erected between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The only alternative, though, is a kind
of border between Northern Ireland and the republic, which infuriates the other half of Northern Ireland.
So he's in a rock and a hard place. And he has signed a legally binding international agreement that erects that trade border, but within his own
country. So, he's trapped. And he is trying to unpick something that he himself has done.
And President Biden is saying, hang on there. You cannot do that. Otherwise, it will disrupt the peace process in Northern Ireland. You need
to hold back. And if you push further, you will you will affect the relationship with the U.S., which you're so keen to develop, and the
potential trade deal with the U.S. that is the big prize for Brexiteers.
When they thought of leaving the European Union, they looked at the U.S. and thought, we can get free trade with the U.S.
GOLODRYGA: And it's interesting, because, Tom, you in this piece describe Boris Johnson as somebody who supports, obviously, Brexit and is proud of
it, but in the piece itself and in the interview wanted to stop talking about it at some point. He said, let's move on to something else.
So, Mark, let's move on to something else, because this is really the U.K. his first attempt to shine independently post-Brexit on the global stage.
And front and center, obviously, is COVID and the pandemic.
And you have these two leaders bringing two big headlines, two very different headlines to these meetings, one from the United States, where
President Biden said that they will be dedicating $500 million towards new doses to be sent around the world. And, at the same time, the U.K. is
announcing that they will be cutting the amount of foreign aid they will be giving about by $4 billion.
How much of an issue and problem could this be for Boris Johnson?
LANDLER: Well, the timing of this budget cut is particularly bad for him. This was a budget cut that was made and announced last fall. And it was
meant to be a temporary cut, because Britain, like the U.S., is spending so much money to cushion the blow of people from the pandemic.
The problem for Boris Johnson is, he's using this G7 as a showcase for what he hopes to be his vision of a global Britain. This is a Britain that has
the power to convene other nations behind big projects, whether it's COVID or climate change. It's a Britain that, unshackled from the European Union,
can really punch above its weight as a foreign policy player.
The problem is, he comes into this meeting, he brings together these world leaders, and, at this very moment, he's facing a mutiny at home, including
from people in his own Conservative Party, because of these budget cuts.
Britain has a great reputation historically as a country on foreign aid and foreign development. But these cuts, even if they're temporary, are
eviscerating the budgets of some very worthy NGOs and other advocacy groups. The representatives of these groups are here. They're making their
And they have even asked President Biden to raise with Boris Johnson the need for Britain to get back in the game to restore this aid spending. So,
it's sort of an awkward place he finds himself as he steps out on the global stage.
GOLODRYGA: And yet nobody should be writing him off, Tom. If anything, that's something that you have learned, that other politicians in England
to have learned over the past few decades of his career.
And, in this piece, you write: "To many, Johnson is a clown, the embodiment of the demise of public standards in the face of international populism,
post-truth politics, even British decline itself."
What do you make of his critics continuously trying to underestimate his ability, and his ability to over -- to always prove them wrong, or at least
up until this point?
MCTAGUE: Well, one of the things Boris Johnson has done throughout his career, and he continues to do it, is, unlike most politicians, he invites
underestimation. So he emphasizes his flaws or his humor as a way of almost distracting you from his focus, ambition and kind of drive to get to the
And you think -- you see with this foreign aid spending, for example, there is the -- there is the reality of Britain's budget, budgetary situation,
and that's sort of created the need, in his eyes, to cut that spending. But it's very popular, if you think about it just in raw political terms.
And Boris Johnson has an argument. He will say, Britain is the biggest aid spender in the world, I think second biggest aid spender in the world, as a
percentage of its budget, of its economy, far more than the U.S., for example, more than any other country, apart from Germany, I think, at the
So he turns around to the country and says, there's a hypocrisy here. We're cutting it to a level which is still above everybody else, and we're being
criticized. And that, as you could imagine, in the U.S., that will win him some supporters, who say, OK, he's on our side. He's fighting for our
pocket, for our budget.
So, when you look at Boris Johnson, you have always got to, I think, judge these two sides to him. There's the chaotic side, the humor, the kind of
buffoonery that he is known for, but then there's the ruthless politician, the cynic, the one that drives and who understands public opinion quite
well. And you're seeing both of those this week in Cornwall,.
GOLODRYGA: And he admitted to you the chaos is intentional.
Mark, in terms of President Biden, he enters this stage, with the G7, with momentum, with tailwind. I look at the Pew Research Center global survey
just out today and the 12 countries surveyed, both this year and last; 75 percent of respondents expressed confidence in Biden doing the right thing
regarding world affairs, compared to 17 percent last year for Trump.
So the bar was pretty low there. But when you're looking at the initiatives and the priorities the U.S. faces vs. Europe and these other European
countries, they may not necessarily be aligned, President Biden really focused on the difference between democracies and autocracies and rising
authoritarians, in particular, China and Russia.
And a lot of these countries, including the U.K., still maintain pretty close business ties with China in particular.
LANDLER: Yes, that's right, Bianna. You raise a very important point.
There is some potential ground for differences to become quite apparent at this summit, at this summit meeting. President Biden has sort of charted a
foreign policy that's built around this epic struggle between democracies and autocracies. And he's identified China as the U.S.' chief competitor
and a country that wants to beat us in the global competition.
That's a very hard-edged view. It's quite popular in the United States both with Democrats and Republicans. It's less popular in places like Germany,
which sells millions of Volkswagens and BMWs to China and with whom they believe the country needs to continue to engage.
So I think Biden will find leaders here, of course, welcoming his message of America's back, breathing a profound sigh of relief that they have a new
American president to deal with, but also a little bit skeptical, a little bit wary about the way he's framed this geopolitical conflict.
And I think you notice that Biden is aware of the European sensitivities. He wrote an op-ed piece for "The Washington Post" right before he came out
on this trip, and he actually stayed away from some of the strongest language that he had used in speaking to Congress a couple of months ago.
He instead focused on, what can democracies do to help the middle class? That's a much less controversial message. And so it seems to me that he's
kind of modulated a little bit his message as he meets with the Europeans.
But these potential points of conflict are not going to go away, and they're probably going to become more noticeable as time goes on.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, that is true. And it didn't go unnoticed that Viktor Orban just recently visited with Boris Johnson in London as well, raising
eyebrows in the U.S. That is for sure.
Tom, what does Boris Johnson need to accomplish to call this meeting, and in hosting it, a success?
MCTAGUE: Well, I think there is a kind of ironic crossover here between what Boris Johnson is trying to achieve and what President Biden is trying
They both want to say to the world that their countries are back and that they are trusted and trustworthy and reliable, consistent, all of these
kinds of words. This is something that Boris Johnson has tried to say, is, after 2016 to 2019, those years of stasis and crisis in the U.K., where it
wasn't clear whether the country would be leaving the European Union or how it would be leaving the European Union, what it would do with Northern
Ireland, all of these issues were up in the air.
And Britain looked like it was having a kind of identity crisis. It didn't know who it was or what it was. He's trying to say: Britain is back. You
can trust us. We're stable again. Come and invest us -- invest in the U.K.
That's his message. And he's trying to do that by aligning with the U.S. on almost everything. So you take the issue of democracy in China. Britain and
America have performed quite a radical policy shift over the last few years towards China. And Britain has -- probably more radical even than the U.S.,
in that it was the most pro-China country in Europe not so long ago.
It is now the most hawkish and the most in line with President Biden's policy. Here in Cornwall, it has invited three of the democratic -- four
other democratic countries to form what is sort of informally known as a the D10 or D11, the democratic alliance, again, very much in line with U.S.
policy, and, from a British perspective, trying to distance the U.K. from France and Germany and other European countries, who are far more
So we're pushing towards the U.S., rather than pushing away.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, and, obviously, this is personal for the U.K. as well, given its history with Hong Kong and the fight for -- the failing fight
there for its autonomy for the time being in the years to come there.
Let me ask you, Mark. Let me end with you, because Tom writes in his piece that Boris Johnson really doesn't like the term special relationship. He
finds it too needy and sort of beneath the country.
How would you say President Biden views that term?
LANDLER: Well, I think special relationship as a phrase has been a bit of a crutch for both sides for quite a long time.
And I'm not sure exactly how much meaning the phrase really has. I think Americans, frankly, used it because they felt that it meant a great deal to
the Brits. There was once a story about Colin Powell giving a speech ,and someone had scribbled at the top of the speech, "Don't forget to say
So, I think that, on the American side, there's a sense that it mattered a great deal to Britain. And so, for Joe Biden to hear that Boris Johnson
doesn't really like the phrase, I'm not sure he's going to cling to it necessarily.
And I think, on Johnson's side, it is an effort to sort of assert a self- confident, optimistic, independent post-Brexit Britain. And so that reference to neediness in Tom's story was really quite interesting. I think
Boris Johnson wants to shrug off that sense of being subordinate.
And I, frankly, don't think he will get an argument from the United States. Maybe they will find a new phrase that grows out of this new charter that
the two leaders signed today. We will have to see.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, one area they both agree on, it would appear
Tom McTague and Mark Landler, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
Well, as President Biden uses the G7 platform to promote democracy, Nicaragua, the country in America's backyard, is plunging deeper into
authoritarianism. President Daniel Ortega, who was once a resistance hero, is becoming the sort of corrupt dictator that he once rebelled against.
In 2018, the U.N. accused Ortega of human rights violations when more than 300 people were killed and hundreds detained during anti-government
protests. Well, now, just months ahead of a national election, the Ortega regime has detained seven opposition leaders.
Human rights defender Bianca Jagger is one of Nicaragua's best-known pro democracy advocates. And she joins me now from London.
Bianca, great to have you on the program. Thank you so much for joining us. I know this is a really important subject and personal subject for you.
There is basically no opposition in the country of Nicaragua right now. What more can the U.S. do, other than the sanctions that have already been
imposed, including on Ortega's daughter?
BIANCA JAGGER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, BIANCA JAGGER HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION: Well, the U.S. has done quite a lot.
It is my hope, now that President Biden is in the U.K., that perhaps he will say a few words about Nicaragua. That will be greatly appreciated by
the people in Nicaragua at this moment, who feel so threatened by these murderous dictators. And I will say that the U.N. and other organizations
have accused him of committing crimes against humanity.
And I am speaking because, as you mentioned, there have been seven opposition leaders who have been arrested. And I know of four presidential
candidates who have been detained. Some of them are arrested.
Some, like Cristiana Chamorro, are hostage in her own home, incommunicado, and who have no access to speak to anyone. They have taken her phone, her
computer. I have a friend of mine who is a presidential candidate, Felix Maradiaga, who has a health problem. They're not allowing him to have his
And then, of course, it is all of the others who are candidates and people that I know, who are friends of mine, and for who I feel very, very
concerned about what will happen to them, not forgetting the more than 100 political prisoners that are at the moment in the Nicaraguan jail.
And so the possibility and the prospectus for a free, fair and democratic election is too far lost in the sky at this moment. And so what I will say
is that I hope that not only the U.S. will impose sanctions on specific criminal individuals, like they are doing so carefully, but that the
European Union, Canada and the governments who are part of the OAS will finally make the decision to impose Article 21 and the democratic charter.
I know that the secretary-general from the OAS, Luis Almagro, has written to say that this is very important that they have an emergency meeting. And
I hope that will take place.
I just listened a very important meeting with the (AUDIO GAP) Spain--
JAGGER: -- with (AUDIO GAP) and the president of Costa Rica and the president of Guatemala, where they addressed the issue of refugees and
JAGGER: -- more than 100,000 people who are refugees and on exile in Costa Rica. And they will--
GOLODRYGA: And it is stunning, because you just list your connections to these detained figures, these opposition leaders, these journalists, and
questioning why the rest of the world isn't speaking out more on this.
You look at the neighboring countries, who are just silent, and the silence is deafening. What can be done from that perspective, from neighboring
countries to Nicaragua?
JAGGER: Well, I appeal to those governments for who the national security is at stake with what's happening in Nicaragua.
And I was reading about the connection of Nicaragua to the narco-traffic. Pablo Escobar was once staying in Nicaragua. Nicaragua had received lots of
money. The government of Daniel Ortega had received lots of money from the narco-traffic.
It is really important from El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and all of Central America -- and Panama -- to really come forward and be part of the
-- imposing the democratic charter on Daniel Ortega. And I hope -- hope and I am appealing to President Biden to make sure that he suspends Nicaragua
from the trade agreement, as well as European -- the members of the European Union.
It is very important. Some people wonder, do we really need more?
GOLODRYGA: And it's a really slippery slope, because, while you mention suspending Nicaragua from the trade agreement, obviously, you don't want to
impose more harm on the citizens of Nicaragua. We know that the economy there is in shambles.
And, obviously, COVID is still running throughout South America and throughout Central America.
You know Daniel Ortega very well. You have known him for many years. What has happened? How has somebody who was a champion of hope and reform in
democracy decades ago now turned into everything that he was opposed to then?
JAGGER: If I may call you Diane (sic), I will say that that idea that Daniel Ortega is a democratic -- a leader of a revolution, which, at one
point he was, in Nicaragua, that is very far behind.
Daniel Ortega has become a brutal, murderous dictator and tyrant, which I will say -- and I am old enough to have known when I was an Somoza, because
I grew up in Nicaragua. It is worst that what Somoza and his dynasty were. And now we have a dynasty of Daniel Ortega and his wife and his children.
And one of the things that I think is really important to keep in mind, why is Daniel Ortega behaving the way he is? Why does he insist on staying in
When he will be ousted from power, he will lose the possibility of not being able to be held account before the law. Daniel Ortega will go to jail
and many of his family will. But, as well, that immunity that is probably very, very important to him, that immunity is also important for all the
lackeys and all the members of the judiciary, of the police, of the paramilitary, of the army that are behind him today, because they think
that, if he was no longer in power, he will, and them, too, will have to respond before the law one day.
And I hope that that will happen. The only thing I can tell you is that I fear at this moment that that possibility is very, very small. The
Nicaraguan people don't want to fight, don't want a war, want to engage in nonviolent resistance against--
GOLODRYGA: It sounds very similar to the Maduro regime in Venezuela, when you describe it that way.
Quickly, there is just one opposition movement left in that country. And that is the Citizens For Liberty. Is there any chance that you think they
have an opportunity to win against a dictator in forming here who is doing everything he can to make sure that there is no one to run against him?
JAGGER: Well, but the problem is that all the people that could run against him, all the leaders, and who were getting together, really, and
the names that are important, are in jail or are being held hostage, and then will be much more.
And that is why I'm calling on world leaders, on the international community to please, do not forget, yes, we are a little country with only
six million inhabitants, but our lives and the lives of people who are opposing, including the Catholic Church, opposing Daniel Ortega, are at
stake and are threatened. And many could die if we allow Daniel Ortega to go after everyone who is not for him in Nicaragua.
GOLODRYGA: Bianca Jagger, we can sense the passion in you in sounding this alarm for the world to see, as we mentioned, a country in America's
backyard, with authoritarianism on the rise.
Bianca, thank you. We appreciate the time.
JAGGER: Thank you for having me. Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, next: Reforming the criminal justice system is a major challenge to American democracy. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
,a critical reform bill, is currently mired in legislative sausage-making weeks after a deadline set by President Biden.
Bill Bratton knows the knotty issues around police reform inside out better than just about anybody. As former police chief in Boston, New York and Los
Angeles, Bratton won accolades for a historic decline in crime rates on his beat.
His new book is called "The Profession: A Memoir of Community, Race, and the Arc of Policing in America."
Bill Bratton, welcome to the program. Congratulations on the book.
As we talked about there before, you oversaw crime rates decline in major U.S. cities, and here they are on the rise a few months into this year and
last year as well. To what do you attribute this rise in crime?
BRATTON: That's still being debated, but my own perspective is, coronavirus certainly contributed to it, all the influences, that that
GOLODRYGA: I'm so sorry to interrupt you. I'm so sorry to interrupt you, Commissioner.
We are going to toss now to President Biden, who is speaking live in Cornwall about the fight against COVID and what the U.S. is doing to spread
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The greet from the British government has been exemplary.
We have had a good first full day here in the U.K. Prime Minister Johnson and I had a very productive meeting. We discharged and discussed the broad
range of issues on which the United Kingdom and the United States are working in very close cooperation.
We affirmed the special relationship, as is not said lightly, the special relationship between our people, and renewed our commitment to defending
the enduring democratic values that both our nations share and the strong - - excuse me -- the strong foundation of our partnership.
Eighty years ago, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt signed an agreement known as the Atlantic Charter. It was a
statement of first principles, a promise that the United Kingdom and the United States would meet the challenges of their age, and they would meet
Today, we build on that commitment with a revitalized Atlantic Charter, updated to reaffirm that promise while speaking directly to the key
challenges of this century, cybersecurity, emerging technologies global health and climate change.
We discussed our common goals for driving an ambitious global action to address climate crisis. In the Climate Leaders Summit that I hosted in
April was in part about helping drive forward the momentum toward the critical COP26 that the U.K. will host in Glasgow later this year. We
talked about the shared sacrifices our service members have made, bravely serving side by side in Afghanistan for close to 20 years.
The U.K. was with us from the start, they always are, equally committed to rooting out the terrorist threat. And now, we are coordinating the
withdrawal together. And of course, we talked about how the two nations can together lead the global fight against COVID-19. That's been a major focus
of the G7 under British leadership, particularly in focusing and coordinating our resources to help vaccinate the world. And tonight, I'm
making an historic announcement regarding America's leadership in the fight against COVID-19.
America knows firsthand the tragedies of this pandemic. We've had more people die in the United States than anywhere in the world. Nearly 600,000
of our fellow Americans, moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents. More deaths from COVID-19 in the United States than from
World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined. Combined. We know the tragedy. We also know the path to recovery.
The United States has now vaccinated 64 percent of our adults with at least one shot. Just four and a half months ago we were only at 5 percent with
one shot. It took a herculean effort on the part of our government to manage one of the biggest and I would say most complicated, logistical
challenges in our history.
It took the ingenuity of scientists building on decades of research to develop a vaccine. It took the full capacity of American companies,
manufacturing and delivering the vaccines around the clock. And as a result, we had the lowest number of daily deaths since the pandemic.
Our economy is rebounding. Our vaccination program has already saved tens of thousands of lives. With that count growing each day, it has allowed
millions, millions of Americans to get back to living their lives. And from the beginning of my presidency, we've been clear-eyed that we need to
attack this virus globally, as well.
This is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as we can, and a responsibility to our values. We value the
inherent dignity of all people. In times of trouble, Americans reach out to offer help and offer a helping hand. That's who we are, and when we see
people hurting and suffering anywhere around the world, we seek to help as best we can.
That's why under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the United States has made transformative commitments to bolster global health.
Commitments under President Bush like PEPFAR which changed the global fight against HIV-aids. And in this moment, our values call on us to do
everything that we can to vaccinate the world against COVID-19. It's also in America's self-interest.
As long as the virus rages elsewhere, there is a risk of new mutations that could threaten our people. We know that raging COVID-19 and other countries
holds back global growth, raises instability and weakens governments.
And as we seen in the United States, with evidence clear day by day, the key to re-opening and growing economies is to vaccinate your people. Our
vaccination program has helped the American economy begin to recover from the worst economic crisis in a century. Over 2 million new jobs created
just in the last four months since I've become president, a historic decline in long-term unemployment.
Businesses re-opening and a projected economic growth of 6.9 percent, the fastest in nearly four decades in America. Just as the America's economy is
recovering, it is in all of our interests to have the global economy begin to recover, as well. And that won't happen unless we can get this pandemic
under control worldwide.
That's why, as I said in my address to the joint session of Congress in April, America will be the arsenal of vaccines in our fight against COVID-
19, just as America was the arsenal of democracy during World War II. Over the past four months, we've taken a number of steps toward this historic
effort. We have contributed more than any other nation to COVAX, a collective global effort that is delivering COVID-19 vaccines across the
We've supported manufacturing efforts abroad through our partnerships with Japan, India and Australia, known as the QUAD. We've shared doses with our
neighbors, Canada and Mexico. And in addition, three weeks ago, with America's vaccine supply secured and with confidence, we have enough
vaccines to cover every American who wants one, we announced that we would donate 80 million doses of our own vaccine inhouse now to supply the world
by the end of June.
Many of these doses are shipping to countries around the world as we speak. And today, we're taking a major step that will super charge the global
fight against this pandemic. In my direction, the United States will purchase an additional half billion doses from Pfizer.
Pfizer vaccine that will donate nearly 100 low and lower middle-income countries. They will be the beneficiaries. Let me say that again. The
United States will purchase a half a billion doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to donate to nearly 100 nations that are in dire need in the fight
against this pandemic. That's a historic step. The largest single purchase and donation of COVID-19 vaccines by any single country ever.
Importantly, this is the mRNA vaccine which has proven to be extremely effective against COVID-19 in every known variant of that virus thus far.
These half a billion vaccines will start to be shipped in august as quickly as they roll off the manufacturing line. 200 million of these doses will be
delivered this year in 2021 and 300 million more will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
Let me be clear, just as with the 80 million doses we previously announced, the United States is providing these half million doses with no strings
attached. Let me say it again, with no strings attached. Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favors or potential concessions. We're
doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That's it. Period.
I also want to thank Albert Bourla, Pfizer's CEO and chairman for joining me today. We've gotten to know each other over the last few months. He and
I and his entire team have really -- he's really stepped up at this critical stage in our fight against the pandemic. And the plan is for a
half a billion doses that we'll be sending around the world to be produced in the United States including Pfizer's manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo,
80 years ago, not too far from the plant in Kalamazoo in the Detroit area, American workers-built tanks and planes and vehicles that helped defeat the
global threat of fascism in World War II. They built what became known as the Arsenal of Democracy. Now, a new generation of American men and women
working with today's latest technology is going to build a new arsenal to defeat the current enemy of world peace, health instability, COVID-19.
Albert was gracious enough to welcome me to the Kalamazoo plant back in February. It's incredible, the ingenuity, the care, the safety that goes
into every single dose as I toured the entire plant. Most of all, when you're there you feel the pride of every worker there feels, have the pride
they feel in what they're doing.
I've been to a lot of plants. I've worked -- I'm a big union guy. I've been doing it my whole career. But you can see the looks on their faces. They
were proud. I mean this sincerely. They were proud of what they were doing. They knew what they were doing. American workers will now produce vaccines
to save lives of people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. People they will never meet and have never met. Places they've never
visited and probably won't have an opportunity to, but lives saved all the same thanks to American leadership and American workers, hard work and
Let me close with this. This is a monumental commitment by the American people. As I said, we're a nation full of people who step up at times of
need to help our fellow human beings both at home and abroad. We're not perfect, but we step up. We're not alone in this endeavor, that's the point
I want to make.
We're going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners. Under the U.K. chairmanship of the G7, democracies of
the world are posed to deliver as well. This U.S. contribution is the foundation for additional coordinated efforts to help vaccinate the world.
The British government, the prime minister, has led a strong campaign to get people vaccinated across the U.K., and I'm grateful they're making
their own generous donation.
Tomorrow, the G7 nations will be announcing the full scope of our commitment, our meeting in the G7, and I want to thank all of my G7
partners for stepping up to recognize our responsibility to meet the moment. I'm looking forward to working with my counterparts on these
efforts in the coming days and much more.
One final point I want to make clear, this is not the end of our efforts to fight COVID-19 or vaccinate the world. We have to turn manufactured doses
into shots in arms to protect people in communities. That's why the United States is already providing hundreds of millions in funding to support
last-minute vaccination efforts including new funding from Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan and working with programs in Latin America,
Asia and Africa. We are going to keep manufacturing doses, donating doses, getting jabs, as they say here in the U.K. in arms, until the world has
beaten this virus.
I want to thank you all. And now, I'd like to turn it over to my friend, the CEO and chairman of Pfizer Albert Bourla.
Albert, it's all yours. And again, personally, thank you for stepping up.
ALBERT BOURLA, CEO, PFIZER: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. President, and it is a great honor to be with you today for this historic announcement.
As the G7 countries come together for this critical summit, the eyes of the world are on the leaders of this powerful nations to help solve the ongoing
COVID-19 crisis. While great progress has been made in many developed nations, the world is now asking the G7 leaders to shoulder the
responsibility to help vaccinate people in all countries.
Mr. President, I know from our conversations that we agree that every man, woman and child on the planet, regardless of financial condition, race,
religion or geography deserve access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. And once again, the United States has answered the call. And we are grateful to
you and your administration for your leadership in this front.
Today, we are providing 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the world's poorest nations. This will significantly enhance our ability to
meet our goal of providing 2 billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries over the next 18 months.
Thanks to the ingenuity of so many scientists and the dedication of so many manufacturing workers, today, we can see clearly the light at the end of
the tunnel, but we still have work to do. And I can assure you, Mr. President, that we will be relentless in pursuing more solutions to end the
Just this week, we begun participants ages 5 to 11 years old in a global phase two, three study. And as we speak, we continue our studies in
pregnant women. We are also closely monitoring and addressing the emerging variants. We are testing our vaccine's response to newly arising variants
and coordinating with public health authorities around the world on surveyance efforts.
So far, data saw that none of the existing variant strains has escaped the protection provided by our vaccine. I repeat, none, not one.
Still, we have built a process to develop within 100 days and new vaccine, if needed. God forbid. Our scientists are also pursuing an oral treatment
against COVID-19. Initial indications are promising. And if things go well, we could apply for approval before the end of this year.
But I wanted to finish by coming back to the importance of your announcement today, Mr. President. In a pandemic, everyone is only as
protected as their neighbors. Their neighbors down the street, as well as their global neighbors around the world. Today's announcement with the U.S.
government gets us closer to our goal and significantly enhances our ability to save even more lives across the globe.
Mr. President, I want to thank you for your leadership, vision and partnership. We look forward to continue to work with your administration
to ensure that science wins the battle against COVID-19. Thank you.
BIDEN: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you believe --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you believe your meeting with Putin can change his behavior in a way sanction have not --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you warn Prime Minister Johnson that a trade --