tv Amanpour on PBS PBS May 16, 2018 6:00am-6:30am PDT
welcome to "amanpour" on pbs. he was the last republican standing against donald trump in the race to become u.s. president. tonight, my conversation with the ohio governor john kasich about the polarization of u.s. politics and the immigration initiative he just unveiled. could his vision for a more moderate america help him rest his party from president trump. also ahead, a window into north korea. the world food program head and a former governor of south carolina, david beasley, tells me about a new sense of optimism he found inside the hermit kingdom.
good evening, everyone. and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london. american voters are casting primary ballots today in four states. polls indicate that immigration is a top issue, and though republicans failed to pass any legislation, president trump has stayed true to his hard-line rhetoric policies. his administration decided to refer every person crossing the border illegally for prosecution, only separating more parents from their children. but in ohio tonight, one republican thinks the future of his party is back in the political center. governor john kasich announced a program today to help integrate and, yes, attract legal immigrants. >> we want them to bring their skills. we want them to bring their families, and we want them to bring their hearts, because they are such an important part of the -- the energy here in the buckeye state.
>> so in 2016, kasich was the last domino to fall to trump's sweep of republican primaries and, again, there he made these comments about immigration. >> can you just send 5 million people back with no affect on the economy? >> have to bring people -- send people back but we have no choice if we're going to run our country properly and if we're going to be a country. [ applause ] >> thank you, sir. >> maria -- can we comment on that? can we comment on that? >> one quick comment. >> we need to control our border just like people have to control who goes in and out of their house, but if people think we are going to ship 11 million people who are law abiding, who are in this country and somehow pick them up at their house and ship them out to mexico, think about the children, think about the families.
>> and governor kasich is joining me right now from the state capital of columbus. welcome to the program, governor. so here you are with this new initiative. what gives, sir? i mean, are you simply doubling down? as the base remains very much in donald trump's, in donald trump's corner on all of this or sense something different abroad in your country right now? >> i'm a person before i'm a politician. i'm a person before i'm a republican. you know? or anything. and we have people that come in to our country. we, of course, want to know who they are, but when they come here we want them to be able to assimilate, and when you come to a country like america and if your english is not great or, you know, you're in a state of turmoil, we want to make sure that you can be comfortable, that you can be assimilated, get work, that you can support your family. so we're making it easier for people who come here to be in a position of where they can be successful. and, frankly, if you are people
who are immigrants, come to ohio. we think you're important. we think you bring us a lot of vitality and strength. >> so i want to ask you this because you just said i'm a human being as well as, you know, before i'm a republican, before i'm a governor, heimbefo i'm a human being. >> yes. >> i want to ask you on this particularly polarizing issue to comment on a really interesting study by the "new york times" which really delved down a few weeks ago into exactly who were donald trump voters. onomy?o figure out, is it the is it automation? is it jobs? what is it? the forgotten heartland, that people say, you know, voted for donald trump. in fact, this study found that, in fact, what it was was that at they weren't primarily atus influenced by unemployment density of manufacturing jobs or even the perception that their financial situation had worsened.
i mean, that's pretty big in terms of explaining the vote. how do you react to that study, that investigation? >> yeah. i did read it, and it really raised the issue of nationalism or, you know, sort of like if we need to preserve our culture as we've always understood it. i think this has always been historic. we've had so many groups that have come into america who sort of isolated themselves at times. and it took them a while to assimilate. the great news about america is, we're pretty good on assimilation. the problem that you have in europe is that europe does not have a history of assimilation. so it makes it very difficult. if you can't assimilate, you have problems. now, for people who look at immigration, who find themselves in, you know, economic chaos for that matter, you know, i think it's just -- it's natural for people to look around and say, what happened to me? why did it happen? if you have somebody that says, the reason it happened to you is because somebody else took your
stuff, then, you know, you claim to be a victim. i don't think that's where people want to live. i don't believe that's where they ought to live. and while you might have an economic problem, we need to work on solving it. by the way, in our state we have the lowest unemployment in 17 years and here's what's interesting. we have somewhere between 150,000 to 160,000 job openings in our state. 50% of those openings pay more than $50,000. there's plenty to go around. and so we have to work on making the pie bigger. not fighting over the scraps that are left, because that's what a dynamic economy can do for you. >> so how do you send that message to the rest of the country while the rest of your state and maybe, maybe in 2020 to the rest of the country, when you have the president and the base of the republican party thinking the way it does right now and essentially demonizing immigrants, bans, all rest of it.
because you have spoken about a vast middle in america that is not being tapped into. that is not being catered for? >> i happen to believe in the best sense that our creator has planted his virtues on our hearts. and those virtues are things like treat your neighbor as you want your neighbor to treat you. love your neighbor as you want to be loved by your neighbor. compassion, forgiveness, justice. all of those kinds of things, and i'm just trying to tap into something that i think is pretty intuitive to human beings. frankly, all over the world. not just in america but all over the world. we have to realize that other people who are made in the image of our creator are to be respected, helped and cared for. i can only do what i can do. i'm doing this as i think a good action here in ohio to make people's lives better. to give them more certainty. that's what i can do and i can tell people about it, so i'm just one guy. just trying to do my job with a team of people who feel pretty
much the way that i do. >> but you're a guy who's governor of a very powerful state, particularly in american electoral politics and you have come down quite hard on the far right or rather the extremes of left and right in the american political system. how do you see it changing at all? how do you see the vast middle that you say -- >> yeah. >> -- are ready for something different? >> right. i think there's two poles. there is, you know, on the hard left and the hard right. and there are people that basically, at least at this point, consume only things that they happen to agree with. i don't think that's the vast majority of americans. i think the vast majority of americans operate in this ocean in between the polls. and so you have to appeal to them and try to build networks as you can, people who think similarly. and so i'm not particularly interested whether somebody's a republican, a democrat, liberal, conservative. i want them to be objective. i want them to be searching for
the truth in a post-truth environment and i want them to be rational and then those -- once we have those people we can mediate what immigration reform ought to look like. and maybe at some point we can grab the people in the poles, in the polar opposites. for now i need to spend my time thinking about the ocean, and that's what i do. >> well, i want to yo whether your rational plan involves a run-in with fellow opponent, you have been trading funny tweets with gifs and all the rest of it. for instance, you said i see my friend john hickenlooper is headed to iowa. they say no one goes there by accident. he replied, friend, that's rich. we were invited by the iowan republican governor to talk renaissance and s.t.e.m. what are you up to in new
hampshire? what gives, governor? what's going on here? >> well, we're buddies and having some fun and christiane, we've gotten to a point, not totally, to a degree that if people want to be friends or if they want to do something m trying to push now some, i ke think, some common sense limits on guns. people suspect, well, there must be something in it for them. you know, every time somebody does something good or positive or works with people in the other party, there shouldn't be like him very much.hem.here's he's a great guy. i don't want to have a parliamentary system in america. we're starting to develop one. you know, in great britain, it's -- you know, it's conservatives and liberals. you don't cross the aisle and all that. that's not been the history of america and i don't want it to move in that direction or solid my that direction that america has become sort of a parliamentary system. our system works great. we just have to get politicians to realizes they serve the probably a lot of people their uld agree with you. people do want to have more
connections across the aisle. but look at these polls, for instance. the latest, president trump's job approval, republicans and democrats. republican voters, 8 approve. democrat voters, 9 approve. republican voters, 9 disapprove. democrat voters, 87 disapprove. it's incredibly polarized still. but can i ask you a couple of economic and a couple of foreign policy questions? what do you make -- >> sure. >> -- of president trump's, you know, own commerce department, putting sanctions on this chinese company zte for doing business with north korea and iran? and then the president wanting that to be revisited not to help american jobs but to help chinese jobs? what do you think is going on there? >> yeah. i've kind of been following the bouncing ball here. i'm not quite sure where we'll come out on that but here's what i will tell you. i think the united states made a major mistake in not being part
of the pacific trade agreement. you know, i believe that open trade serves us all pretty well. now, there isn't any question the chinese have stolen our secrets. there isn't any question they have played unfair trade games. and we need to hold them accountable for that. but i'm a fundamental believer that open trade and free trade can lead to more -- more prosperity for people all over the world. so i think withdrawing from the pacific trade agreement and i understand the president said, maybe we ought to look at it again. maybe we shouldn't. you have to have a degree of consistency, and it doesn't mean that there aren't exceptions to that rule. i'm following the bouncing ball on this, just like yo are. >> and what about the somewhat bouncing ball on an international agreement enshrined at the united nations to protect the world from the iran nuclear weapons program? how do you think pulling out or pulling america out of it, which may cripple the deal,
serves america's safety and the world's safety? >> well, i didn't agree with pulling out. i was the only candidate on the stage that -- everybody was saying they would rip it up when they were running. i said we don't know what they're going to do. once we're all elected or one would be elected. i don't think it was a good decision. i think it further removes us from our european allies who are critical, and it's sort of going it alone. i'm not sure what we got in return. i guess what i would hope is that we would be able to have iran stay in that agreement. delay any enrichment. delay any development, but i guess we have to see what the european leaders tell their companies, and what the united states does going forward in terms of secondary sanctions. i just hope that doesn't happen. because i think the longer it takes iran to develop a nuclear weapon, the better off we are. frankly, i share the president's concern about ballistic missile development, about iranian influence in a negative way in the world.
i think we would have been a stronger position to negotiate something along those lines than the leverage we have now once we've withdrawn. >> quickly and finally, we've been watching all sorts of elections around the country. special elections and others. we just said primary ballots being cast in four states. what do you predict will happen in the midterms? democrats seem fired up about potentially a sweep? what do you think? >> well, i think it depends. i think traditionally the party out of power does well in the off year. the problem is, you can't tell me what democrats stand for. i think they're trending, you know -- in order to be accepted you have to trend farther and farther left. that's why you see these polls out there you referred to earlier. i actually -- i think it will be a decent democrat year, but if the democrats don't have an agenda that paints a picture of hope and a picture of the future
that's better, i think their win will be muted. we have to wait and see what they come up with. the farther they move to the left, the worse they'll do. no program, they won't do that well either. i think that's the situation. everybody focuses on the dysfunction or whatever it is in the republican party. don't forget, there's another party, too. it takes two to tango. >> and we will be watching with you. governor john kasich, thank you so much for joining us from columbus. and now we move to the other side of the world and that is north korea, where the united states is getting involved as well with its upcoming summit between president trump and president kim jong-un. now, pyongyang says that it's going to shut down its main nuclear test site, but experts are warning a full and permanent closure will be very hard to verify because verification is a challenge with just about anything in north korea, especially the welfare of its own people. in order to see inside this highly secretive society for himself, the head of the world food program, david beasley, a
former republican governor of south carolina, traveled across the country accompanied by government miners and found a surprising sense of hope and opportunity as news of a possible opening to america begins to filter through. not surprisingly he found malnutrition is rampant and agricultural methods from a bygone era. he told me all about this from seoul tonight. governor beasley, welcome to the program. this is the first time you've been in north korea as far as i know. what was it like? >> well, very few people have been able to see what we've been able to see and the world food program has a 23-year history there. so there's a lot of trust with the world fod program. but, as i was very clear with the leadership that i needed the access necessary to really determine the realities that were on the ground and so we spent two days literally 10 to 12 hours in a vehicle going from village to village, to the
south, to the north. literally looking at farmlands, looking at the lack of mechanization, lack of electricity and also at the springtime how literally there were thousands of men and women in the farms, in the fields, with no, very little tractors. with oxen. and plows. hoes, rakes, shovels working the fields. working every inch of land available to them. planting up to the edge of the road, down the embankments, trying to take advantage of every inch of land they have. >> can you tell me how you judged their condition to be regarding nutrition? you know, we've had many, many reports that date back into the '90s of severe famines and onwards malnutrition and insufficient feeding? >> well, the good news is compared to the '90s when you had famines, there's not mass starvation today. the bad news is there is chronic malnutrition. and whilthey're growing a good
amount of food, they're not quite growing enough. and so you're having children that are stunted. you have families that are malnourished. you have chronic malnourishment and a country with only 15% to 20% of its land that is aeratable and couple that with severe winters, droughts and flooding and lack of rainfall. it creates a difficult situation for any country. but i can tell you, these are some hard-working people. i went from kindergarten to schools, to nurseries, talking to the little children. visiting them in the classrooms and here's what's very important. i asked our team, which has been given a great deal of improved access in the last year, our team has had over 1,800 site visits in the past 12 months. and i asked them where i went on the two days i was out in the countryside did it reflect the
norm or was this the best of the best? they said that where we went and the different villages all across the country reflected the average of dprk. on that was good to hear because the conditions were not as bad as i was expecting. but, at the same time, there's a lot of work to be done and there's a lot of nutritional issues in this country. one of the things obviously we're all really interested to know is how this visit and what you found and the relationship with the officials, et cetera, might set the tone or give us an indication of how they're feeling, the leadership, in the run-up to this summit with president trump? what did you find that, that they're aware, the officials who you talked to? what was their feelings and sentiments about this and the future? >> well, several things. i was very encouraged to see the optimism. there was an extraordinary amount of optimism and hope. i really believed in their hearts they're looking for this
to be a new chapter in dprk and history and peninsula history as well as world history. they want to turn the page i do believe and move forward. we had some very, very frank conversations. i said, if you want me to help you, then i need for you to help me. we need to have greater access. we need to be able to understand the realities with greater surveys so that we can make the analysis necessary to convince donors that these are the needs, and these are the programs, and assure them that the intended food and dollars will go to the beneficiaries that would be expected to, and so those conversations were very practical, very frank, very clear, and the response we received was very positive. it was like, a whole new era of understanding and transparency. it's going to be a work in progress. it's not going to happen overnight, but i let them know that we are not here to embarrass anyone. we are not here to hurt anyone. we're doing here with the
requests what we would do in any country around the world. >> and yet it's not any country around the world. it's north korea. and there are only a few major donors who support the north korea program. and i think you have a hard time, in general, trying to convince nations to pony up for north korea which has a, you know, a dictatorship that has treated his people badly and that has you know, these sanctions and the nuclear tests and all the reasons why it's hard to get the west engaged. do you think that you can unblock this? you obviously need funding. you have a shortfall. a massive shortfall. >> a massive shortfall and had to cut back severely on the programs on the ground in dprk with regards to children knop support of kindergartens. we're down to nurseries, children aged 0 to 3 and those are the first 1,000 days, as you know, very critical for any
child's development, whether physical or mental. of course, we're trying to help pregnant women as well. so the funding is needed. to address chronic malnutrition that exists across this country. >> let me ask you -- you're a former republican governor. we have a republican administration that's about to engage on a completely different issue. nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, et cetera and we understand from the experts that you know, first of all, there are not enough iaea inspectors. there's a whole country full of nuclear sites, secret locations. you know, it's going to be a really heavy lift to try to get to inspect all of those things. and you are not sure whether you've got to inspect all of the places which may have been in desperate need there. i presume you got to see what they wanted you to see despite the geography. talk a little about that.
having to take on faith some of these incredibly serious verification issues? >> there's going to be a lot of work to be done, and i'll lead the denuclearization issues to the experts of what must be done with the assessments and monitoring there. that's a lot of work, and i just know as regards to the humanitarian side, we also need further and greater access, but as i was saying just a little while ago, the access we already are getting compared to years ago is substantially better, but it's not where it needs to be. but i do believe we're on the right path. we're in the right direction. i don't want to throw cold water on the progress we've been making but must be persistent and also shrewd and very clear we must make it known why we need what we need and why we need to have complete access across the country. and i believe we're on the road to getting there. so i'm hoping with regards to other issues, that these issues will be addressed and addressed very quickly. >> did the officials you were
talking to, who were in the humanitarian field mostly, i suppose, did they have a sense of optimism about the nuclear talks? about the summit? did they feel that any minute now the sanctions were going to be lifted? that their country would be rebuilt? i think people think the united states is going to heavily invest, help to rebuild their country. give me a sense of what they said to you on that level? >> well, we had a very frank discussion on all aspects and talked about sanctions and denuclearization, and i'm not part of that negotiating team. i was just being very clear once these issues were resolved it will definitely open up the doors of greater opportunity to us to address the humanitarian need, but in the meantime, until we -- because we received funds from, on a voluntary basis from countries all over the world. and so until that time takes place, we needed to do the assessments, evaluations, to be able to put together a plan so that donors will be prepared to fund it when they are ready to step forward and i am hopeful,
and hopeful the denuclearization takes place, and i am hopeful other issues will be resolved but i do believe with the leaders that i met with at all levels in different ministries within the government of dprk, they are excited about the possibilities and the opportunities. >> you know, there is obviously a massive difference between the opportunities, the look, the economy, the availability in south korea compared to the north. famous satellite picture at night shows a blacked out north and a sparkling south when it comes to electric lighting. sum up the sort of disconnect as you go from one side of the border to the other? >> well, there's a whole different world, but at the same time, children are children. and little brothers, little sisters and cousins am families and friends, this, i think great opportunities, but the children in dprk are malnourished, undernourished need more micronutrients and vitamins, healthier food, a better
balanced diet and that making a difference. i believe if we can get the major political issues behind us i believe that the future is so bright for the children of dprk just like the children of their neighbors to the south have to this day, and hopefully will all be playing together soon. >> well, that's an optimistic -- america optimism right there on the korean peninsula. governor beasley, executive director of the world food program, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. and that's it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour" on pbs and join us again tomorrow night. boboboboboboboboo