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Trump's Facebook Ban Continues; Interview With Cindy McCain; Interview With South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 5, 2021 - 14:00 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.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've already committed to work to send 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries starting
this month and into June.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): President Biden promises to share vaccines with the developing world, but, as coronavirus surges in India, is it too little,
too late? I asked South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor.
And Donald Trump's Facebook ban continues, for now. Top tech journalist Kara Swisher on the ramifications of today's decision.
CINDY MCCAIN, AUTHOR, "STRONGER: COURAGE, HOPE, AND HUMOR IN MY LIFE WITH JOHN MCCAIN": When John and I first started all of this, the Republican
Party was really, truly a wonderful place to be.
AMANPOUR: A private political spouse opens up in her new book. Cindy McCain speaks of life with John and the post-Trump crisis in the Republican
BARKHA DUTT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I'm haunted by my father's last words, because he really wanted to get better.
AMANPOUR: A report from India's front line. Hari Sreenivasan speaks to "Washington Post" columnist Barkha Dutt.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
As foreign ministers from the world's richest countries wrap up their G7 in London, poorer nations watch in horror as India's COVID crisis continues to
surge and their vaccine supply is choked off.
According to the World Health Organization, more cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally in the past two weeks than during the first six
months of this pandemic. New COVID infections and new variants rage. Meanwhile, at the G7, India's delegation had to self-isolate after some
team members tested positive.
Rich countries promised to share the vaccine wealth. President Biden says the U.S. will distribute 60 million AstraZeneca doses globally by July 4.
But his main focus is, of course, at home. Health officials fighting the pandemic in Africa warn that India could be a preview of what's in store
for them, with the same population, but an even less effective public health system.
South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor is here in London for the G7, and she's joining me right now.
Welcome to the program, Foreign Minister.
So, let me just ask you to comment, then, on what we have just been setting up, that India's crisis is probably a terrible and scary lesson, and given
what Narendra Modi, the prime minister, told the World Economic Forum in January: "We saved mankind from a big disaster by effectively controlling
Well, clearly that hasn't happened. So, what are your fears for your own continent and lessons learned?
NALEDI PANDOR, SOUTH AFRICAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Good evening, and thank you very much for this opportunity.
I think we all need to ensure that we remain vigilant. We must keep our systems, our health systems, prepared for any surge of the virus. It's
absolutely important. The World Health Organization and other research institutions have been providing consistent advice that it's not over yet.
Don't relax your guard.
So, I think we should remain vigilant and make sure that we have hospital beds available, and particularly ventilators. Oxygen appears to be key. But
we also must ramp up the vaccination program and ensure that the ramping up is inclusive.
We're arguing for expansion of production facilities in the developing world. We think that there are African countries that have the capacity to
produce. And should we agree on relaxation of intellectual property rights holding, it will assist us to have more sites for producing the vaccine,
and then allow for more equitable distribution to countries that need support.
So, let me ask you, then, because this has been the news of the day. And, certainly, you must have been talking about it with certainly the secretary
of state and your other G7 partners, because South Africa and India, invited to attend this G7 as friends, have clearly asked formally for these
patents and other intellectual property rights to be relaxed.
And that's gone to the WTO, which is discussing it now. But the U.S. faces a dilemma. President Biden appears to be somewhat conflicted. He's only
committed so far to providing some 60 million unused AstraZeneca doses.
What are they telling you inside the closed rooms that you're negotiating in right now here in London, or you have been doing? Will you get patent
waivers? Will you get production waivers, et cetera?
PANDOR: I think there's still a battle to be had with respect to this goal that India and South Africa have put before the world.
But in our meeting, we certainly recognized that much more has to be done. And to rely on that traditional producers, traditional approaches, and to
believe distribution at the level we need will happen is just not good enough. Everybody's aware of that.
So, one of the things we discussed is, this is an emergency. And when there's emergency, you have to look at your rules system, and see whether,
within it, there may be ways in which you could address the crisis confronting you.
Now, it's very important that I stress that what India and South Africa have asked for is a temporary waiver to address the pandemic, the crisis
the global community is confronted by at the moment. We're asking that the world must make good on the undertaking everybody was giving in many fora
last year that vaccines will be a public good.
We can't retreat from that promise. And so we're saying, let us put our heads together. We believe there are countries, Brazil, India, South
Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunisia, that have the capacity. Let's use it. Let's expand production and ensure that we have
sufficient vaccines to cover everyone.
AMANPOUR: OK, but let's just take your country.
And production, obviously, is a key issue, because even, let's just say they were to give away the patents and waive the intellectual property,
they say, the pharmaceuticals and the U.S., et cetera, that there isn't the capacity to produce. So, it's clearly much better to get these
pharmaceutical companies to deliver at low cost huge numbers of vaccines to your continent.
Would that work?
PANDOR: Well, Christiane, I think you know far better than do that countries in Europe, as well as the United States, have expressed concern
about the slow pace of delivery.
We're not producing enough. This is a key point. So, I think it's very important that, while, yes, certainly it's great to have the promises of so
many millions of doses to be made available to poor countries, but when there aren't those in production, what are you going to be giving the
countries that need to be supplied with vaccines?
I think that it is important we look at an alternative approach. Also, I have heard this argument suddenly emerging, as we reach critical point of
the discussion, that we don't have capacity. Well, if we don't, why are we reluctant to agree to a temporary waiver?
Because you would agree, knowing that we don't have capacity, the fear is we do. And we do have capacity.
AMANPOUR: Well, you say that. And I was -- my next question to you was going to be -- because you said South Africa could be one of the production
countries. And yet you have only managed to vaccinate 0.5 percent of your population.
There's been all sorts of muddles with vaccines, and India, which obviously stopped exporting, and then suspending Johnson & Johnson and all of that.
And your country relied very heavily on the so-called COVAX program to deliver vaccines to developing countries.
I spoke of the inequities of the vaccine delivery right now around the world with South Africa's Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. And this is what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THABO MAKGOBA, ARCHBISHOP OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF SOUTHERN AFRICA: If one looks at the COVAX system and its intention, it's supposed to help the
global South and the poorest of the poor countries to vaccinate only 3 percent. It is destined to fail.
And if one looks at the scourge in India in your introduction, one is anxious. But should we have that magnitude in the continent, the continent
will be wiped off the face of this earth, whilst others are hoarding.
So this is not a moral issue only. But it is an issue of greed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, very stark words: The continent will be wiped off.
Did the moral case ring any bells with your G7 partners when -- well, were invited to the G7 foreign ministers. Did the rich countries who you were
talking to get it?
PANDOR: I think several do. There are some who argue that it's a free market, and we are all committed to open economies.
We're not challenging that, by any means. But we are saying, in order to meet the challenge confronting all of us, because the key issue,
Christiane, is that, if one is safe and others are not, all of us are unsafe.
So, the key solution is make vaccines available, so that all of us are safe, and we then don't develop new complex variants, which render those
who are vaccinated incapacitated, because they will become infected by a new set of viruses.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a more internal political question?
You supported President Ramaphosa's anti-corruption drive, his drive to reform the ANC. And we now hear today that he has suspended the ANC
secretary-general for refusing to voluntarily step aside when he was presented with the orders to do so.
How important is that? And, by contrast, how difficult was it for you or other high ministers to persuade investors to come to South Africa, badly
needed, when there was clearly this coterie of people who had charges of corruption against them? Of course, they all deny it.
Well, they are to be tried. A number of people have been charged. And, of course, we have an independent judiciary. And we will see the outcome of
the trials. It is our hope that all those who are corrupt will end up in prison. This is very important for our country and for the drive to clean
up the public sector.
There's, of course, also corruption within the private sector, as you would be aware. So, we have got to address this absence of ethics and integrity
and ensure that our security and law agencies are able to catch these criminals.
It has been a tough challenge. But President Ramaphosa is very, very resolute in his intention to address the malfeasance that had been
prevalent in our country and to ensure that we restore public credibility and address the criminal actions that had been taken by a number of people.
AMANPOUR: And very -- very lastly, the ISIS insurgency in Mozambique, nearby you, how worried are you about it? And would South Africa lead or
join some kind of military attempt to stamp it out there?
PANDOR: Well, in our deliberations with Mozambique through SADC, we are proposing SADC action.
South Africa is part of SADC. And, clearly, we will be part of any action. We don't know whether we have sufficient intelligence on the situation in
Cabo Delgado to assert that it is an ISIS offshoot.
We do know that horrendous acts against the civilian population have occurred. So, there are persons there committing terrible crimes. We
believe that SADC must ensure that we root them out of Mozambique and out of the Southern African region.
AMANPOUR: And I assume you're referring to the Southern African defense coalition.
Foreign Minister, thank you.
PANDOR: Southern African Development Community, SADC.
AMANPOUR: Development Community. That's right.
Thank you. Thank you very much for joining U.S., important, important issues.
And remember, of course, President Trump lost the 2020 U.S. election, according to his own pollsters, because of his own fumbled COVID response.
And then, after his supporters attack the U.S. Capitol in January, Trump was suspended indefinitely from Facebook.
The company decided the risk of keeping him on the platform was simply too great. Now an independent oversight board within Facebook has affirmed that
decision, finding -- quote -- "President Trump's actions on social media encouraged and legitimized violence and were a severe violation of
But the board also-called for further review of the decision within the next six months."
Now, Kara Swisher hosts the highly influential "Sway" podcast at "The New York Times." She joins me from Washington.
Welcome back, Kara.
KARA SWISHER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Tell me something.
I know you don't think this is farewell Donald Trump from social media. But it's a pretty big deal, right, Kara, because they have not un unbanned him.
AMANPOUR: And it gives at least some time to keep thinking about what to do.
SWISHER: Yes, they're trying to kick the can down the road. It's purgatory for him, and he's going to stay there for a little while longer, because
nobody wants to make this hard decision that Twitter did earlier. They made a permanent ban. And that was that. And they have been doing just fine ever
since. And, in fact, they don't have to deal with all the nonsense. I think they're probably thrilled not to have to devote staffing to that.
I think Facebook tried to move it over to this Oversight Board, which is not within Facebook. It's an independent body, even though Facebook paid
for it, figured out the system, they handpicked the people. And it feels a little close to Facebook, but it's supposed to be an independent board.
That said, a lot of perceptual problems around that. But they have essentially said to Mark Zuckerberg, you're not handing this hot potato to
us. You're going to figure it out, and then we will discuss it.
And so, really, it's back in Facebook's court to decide what to do about Donald Trump.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think about that, then, Kara?
AMANPOUR: I mean, shouldn't the founder of this massive, huge corporation actually figure out the rules?
SWISHER: Yes. Yes, I think so. I have said that for a long time.
They have rules, but they don't enforce them. They have power, but they pretend they don't have it. They say their hands are tied, but they tied
their own hands. This -- it's gone on for years like this with Facebook. It's, when it comes to really difficult things, somehow, they're not as
smart as they say they are most of the rest of the time.
And so my whole argument for a long time, and including a column I just did, was, this is a lazy abrogation of their responsibility. That said, the
fact that these social media companies or these search companies are so concentrated in terms of power, we have a problem with power.
And I think both Republicans and Democrats can agree having two people decide on the fate of Donald Trump, which would be Jack Dorsey of Twitter
and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, is problematic. We don't have enough competition, and, therefore, we have monopoly situations in these
And where you can come together is that's -- even if you like their decision, it's a problem.
AMANPOUR: Kara, I was just talking to Senator Klobuchar, who has just written a book about antitrust.
AMANPOUR: And this is one of her big things as well.
Clearly, in Europe, there are rules, and they are much more stringently legislated. And there are real penalties for violations. Is that where the
U.S. will ever be headed, do you think?
SWISHER: Well, they're trying to. And Senator Klobuchar is one of the leaders.
There's a lot of really smart legislators. Herself, she's way, high and above one of the most -- the most smart about how to deal with this and the
most aggressive in dealing with it. And I think some of her proposals, hopefully, will get passed.
I think the problem is that it degenerates into partisanship. You -- instead of, say -- Ted Cruz today was talking about liberals. It's not
about liberals. It's about power. And it's not about Donald Trump not being able to speak. He violated their rules egregiously, egregiously. He did it
for years. And then he took a left turn -- I guess a right turn -- down sedition highway.
And so I think the issue is, let's deal with the power issue, and maybe remove Donald Trump from the discussion which they're trying to heighten it
that is a world leader. Actually, what the problem is, there's this one guy who keeps lying and violating rules. Let's deal with him.
And then let's talk about how to enforce these things with -- when it comes to world leaders and newsworthy figures.
SWISHER: That's an important discussion to have.
AMANPOUR: It really is an important discussion. And I want to just drill down a little bit, because everybody gets all hot under the collar about
the notion of censorship.
SWISHER: They do.
AMANPOUR: And should anybody be saying who can and who cannot -- but you have kind of started to address it by saying, he is a serial violator and
eventually turned down sedition highway.
But, of course, Kevin McCarthy has tweeted that: "Facebook is more interested in acting like Democrat super PAC than a platform for free
speech and open debate. If they can ban Trump, all conservative voices could be next."
AMANPOUR: "A House Republican majority will rein in big tech."
So, but that's their -- that's what they're saying.
SWISHER: That's for their base. That's for their base.
AMANPOUR: So, tell us about why the censorship -- right.
But tell us why you don't believe this is censorship.
SWISHER: Because Facebook is a private company. If they're worried about power, then figure out why they have a monopoly. That's really -- it's just
so many talking points for someone who doesn't -- wouldn't know technology if it hit him on the head, honestly, that guy.
But I think what they have to start discussing is power and monopoly. And that's the real discussion to have. I think this, if they did it to me,
they will do it to you. I guess, if I incited violence, they should do it to me. They don't want to ever discuss the actual thing that happened. They
want to discuss the bigger issue.
AMANPOUR: Right. Yes.
SWISHER: And so I absolutely agree that power is a problem. But it's not censorship, because, guess what, Facebook's a private company.
And the First Amendment -- and Kevin McCarthy doesn't seem to have a familiarity with it -- says that Congress shall make no law, not Facebook,
not Twitter, not Reddit, not CNN. We can make whatever laws we want when it comes to -- it's about enforcing the rules that you have and figuring out a
way to deal with people like Donald Trump, who also presents a problem because he's a world leader.
And so they can't ban anyone they want. Their rules are clear. And if you violate the rules, you get kicked off. It's a private space, not a public
square. When the Supreme Court decides it's a public square, then it'll be a public square or a utility. But it's not today. And that's where we find
So, the Republicans can yammer on about it, but it's not the point. It's not the point.
And the point, as you said, is that the red lines were crossed over and over again, until it came to the charges of inciting violence.
AMANPOUR: So, this is what the advisory board put out, some recommendations. Here's a little part.
"In the future, if a head of state or high government official repeatedly posts messages that pose a risk of harm, Facebook should either suspend the
account for a definitive period or delete the account. The company should assess the risk of inciting harm before the suspension ends. Influential
users who pose a risk of harm should not be reinstated."
So, that's pretty clear.
AMANPOUR: Either give him a time-out for a period or ban the account altogether.
And, today, President Trump has doubled down, because in his own platforms, he's again talked about the big lie, about having won the election, et
cetera. Do you think that will be taken into account during this suspension period?
Do you think he will ever be put back on again?
SWISHER: He cannot help himself.
And why would he? They let him -- they have fed -- they have let him get away with things for years. And why wouldn't he? I don't even blame him at
this point. You know what I mean? Like, why wouldn't you take advantage of platforms to let you do whatever you want? And that's what he's done.
And then they got a little -- they didn't want to become handmaidens to this attack, right? And so -- and correctly. But they probably should have
done something many years ago to deal with this thing. And they never did until it got to the Capitol attack.
And so I think Donald Trump will continue to be Donald Trump. And everyone -- anyone's fooling themselves and to think he's not going to keep going
with the big lie, because it worked. Many Republicans -- I think it's 72 percent of Republicans believe the election was stolen.
You know why? Because they heard it on social media over and over. That's how propaganda works. Same thing with anti-vaccine things. Same -- it goes
on and on and on. And so he will do what he always does. They have to decide what their rules are and what their standards are, and enforce them.
And it's not that hard a thing.
And then Congress, which has been very limp in terms of dealing with it, as opposed to Europe, has to finally say, these companies are too big. If we
have competition, maybe there will be more places for people to have more voices and we won't have this big problem where everything's focused on
Facebook or Twitter.
And that's where we stand, unfortunately. But someone's got to display leadership. I thought that quote from the board was absolutely on point.
AMANPOUR: And it's a battle worth having. It's really interesting, because it affects everything.
Kara Swisher, thank you so much for being with us today.
SWISHER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And Donald Trump's refusal, as we just said, to accept his defeat is driving a real-time leadership meltdown within the Republican
Liz Cheney, who's the party's number three leader in the House of Representatives, looks likely to lose her position for refusing to buy
Trump's so-called big lie.
The late Senator John McCain, of course, was another Republican who never shied away from speaking truth to power. And his widow, Cindy McCain, was
censured by the Arizona Republican Party after she campaigned for Joe Biden and also said the election was legitimate.
Now this very private woman is speaking out about all of this. Her new book is called "Stronger: Courage, Hope, and Humor in My Life With John McCain."
And Cindy McCain is joining me are from Phoenix, Arizona.
Welcome to the program.
C. MCCAIN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, we have had quite a lead-up to you. I mean, we have really been talking about a lot of what's coming your way and your party's way.
So, what do you make of -- just let's talk about the leadership fight in your own party now, Liz Cheney probably going to be ousted as number three
leader just for saying that the election was actually legitimate.
C. MCCAIN: Well, I think our party has turned a very dark corner.
Liz Cheney is going to be thrown out because she told the truth. We have lost our way. And unless this party, I believe, gets themselves put back
together and becomes what we were in the Reagan years, which is the party of inclusion, the party of Abraham Lincoln and so forth, we're not going to
have much of a party.
It's right now a small, very vocal few are running the Republican Party. And the rest of us who consider ourselves Republicans are kind of left out
in the cold.
AMANPOUR: Well, just one of the things you said in your book on this, on the election: "I worried about where America might be headed. Everything
many of us believed about the values of the Republican Party seemed to be shaken."
So, you say it's a small vocal few. But as we were just saying with Kara Swisher, according to a latest poll, 70 percent of Republicans don't
believe that this was a legitimate election, and that Trump won. That's people out that, 70 percent of your party.
C. MCCAIN: Well, I respect your previous guest on the show quite a bit.
But I will say I don't trust pollsters either. So, I -- the proof is in what happens, I believe, next time at the ballot box for sure, and what
happens if -- to see if there's any effort on the part of any of these lead Republicans to do what's right for the country, instead of what's right for
We need to work across the aisle. We have got to be bipartisan. We have to. There are some very serious issues facing this country. And yet there
doesn't seem to be any movement on our side to even stop some of this and work together. It's frightening, quite frankly, to me.
AMANPOUR: So let's turn to you as the life partner and widow of John McCain just in this aspect.
He had a totally gracious concession speech after he lost the 2008 election. So I want to start by just playing a snippet of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good
will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our
prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.
Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, that, of course, is the traditional political concession speech which he delivered. Many say it was one of his best.
When you think of that then, of course, in 2008, and now -- and now, with your book, you're sort of pulling back so many of the curtains -- what do
you think your husband would have made of the situation right now?
C. MCCAIN: Oh, he -- obviously, some of this is going on prior to his death. And he was very angry about it and very disappointed. And I know he
would be even more so now.
What happened on January 6 was -- would have -- I'm not sure how -- what my husband would exactly done, but he probably would have gone outside of the
Mall and tried to stop them.
It just -- men like my husband, men and women like my husband and others, who live by the code of conduct and really serve their country because it
is serving a cause greater, do it for the right reasons. Right now, we're being controlled by quite a few of these people that aren't doing it for
the right reasons and believe that whatever makes them better makes the party better.
And that's not the case.
AMANPOUR: Cindy McCain, I want to ask you, what was your prime motivation -- many describe you -- the first description is private person -- to write
this book and to delve into not just the politics, but your personal relationship and all that you endured?
And it is very personal and it's very revealing. What did you want to say about your relationship with your husband and yourself as a political
spouse who's now an activist?
C. MCCAIN: Well, really, what I wanted to say to many people out there who have struggled or are struggling with the same issue issues that I faced,
addiction to prescription opioids, shyness, you know, all the -- all the issues about being in public.
I mean, all the things that I talk about in the book. You can get over it. There is a path forward for this.
And really what I wanted to let people know is that I'm no different than you are. I suffered from and struggled from the same problems that
everybody else has and every family has. And so, for me, it was very cathartic to write the book, for many reasons, obviously. I really hadn't
really finished grieving my husband, my husband's loss at the time that I wrote it. And so, for me, it was really a step forward and something that
made me very -- obviously, the name of the book is "Stronger," but I felt much stronger after I completed it too.
AMANPOUR: You know, your opioid story and the addiction story is fairly well known and how you -- you know, you powered through, you went cold
turkey and you powered through. But I was astounded to read passages whereby even your husband did not know how bad it was. He was in Washington
working. You were at home. And you would put on, you know, the brave face and have everything in order and he didn't know.
MCCAIN: Listen, addiction is a very cunning enemy. And most addicts will tell you that they'll go to any lengths to hide what's going on. it. The
biggest factor, in my opinion, in an addict's life is the humiliation that comes from all of this. And in the years that this occurred to me, the
humiliation also came from the national media. And it was a time in my life where I wasn't sure I could survive it.
But now, the media has a much better representation, a much better understanding of what is happening. It is a disease and I'm grateful for
that because there's millions of people that need help right now.
AMANPOUR: To be clear, it was prescription opioids. You had an operation and it was for pain medication and then it just took over your life.
AMANPOUR: So, just to rerack a little bit, you describe this amazing, you know, entrance to Washington as, you know, when your husband was in the
Senate and you're a young wife. And you and your husband made friends with Jill and Joe Biden. And you talk very movingly about what Jill did for you
and what you learned from her all those decades ago.
MCCAIN: It was, you know, her kindness and her attitude about the new person in town, because she had been in the same boat that I had. She was
just very kind to me. They both were. There was never a time they didn't take an extra step to, say, come over and say hello if we were in a room or
whatever it may be.
They were always careful to be always kind to both John and me. And for myself, I was deeply grateful for that because it -- I felt very alone in
Washington in those early years and very frightened and, of course, I was terribly shy, which doubly enhanced all of it.
So, it was -- I was so grateful to have their friendship. And also, I watched the two men work together on the Senate floor.
AMANPOUR: Actually, you make a funny quip. You know, she understood what it was like to be the new blonde in town. Of course, all these years later,
do you see this -- you know, personal side of them and their politics coming to the White House? Now, you obviously, I believe, campaigned for
Joe Biden and there's word that you may, in fact, be one of his appointees, that you may get the position of head of the World Food Program, which is
part of the United Nations. Is that a go?
MCCAIN: I really can't talk much about it. But if the president taps me for something, I would be proud and honored to be able to serve.
AMANPOUR: And that, of course, would be a little bit of bipartisanship. But let me ask you because the story -- this was Democratic couple. It was,
you know, a Republican president, Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan who were in the White House at the moment, and you felt really sort of closed out by
Nancy Reagan. As embracing as Jill Biden was, you got the absolute opposite from Nancy Reagan. That must have been pretty shocking.
MCCAIN: Well, I was shocked. I mean, she -- to be fair, she was very good friends with my husband's ex-wife and I certainly understand those
loyalties and I respect them. But I was young and I was new. And what I learned from that was it was really good lesson though is that, don't ever,
ever be mean or mean spirited or unkind to anyone. There is no purpose in that. And for me, that was a -- especially in politics, that was a great
lesson to learn.
AMANPOUR: You do call out though issues that you cannot get over. You talk about forgiving. You talk about, you know, the freedom that you can get by,
you know, forgiving. But there are some who you do not forgive. One of them is Karl Rove, the Republican strategist who worked, obviously, on the
George W. Bush campaigns and for the 2000 election. And you had an adopted daughter, a Bangladeshi adopted daughter, and there was a lot of scurrilous
leaking and then reached the newspapers and tabloids about your daughter, Bridget.
And here's a quote from the book. John's opponent saw Bridget's physical difference as a way to play to voter's racial fears and worse instincts.
Flyers had been placed on all the cars with a distorted looking picture of Bridget and the line, did you know John McCain has a black love child?
You know, it is really awful, just awful to even imagine for you, for you daughter. How did you get through that? And do you think anything has
changed in that regard today?
MCCAIN: Well, how we got through it was, just this Bridget was young when this occurred, it was 2000. And so, she was not very old. So, we didn't
talk to her about it. We didn't -- we had no need to because she was so young and she didn't know anything about it. But as the years went on, you
know, me, I should have figured this out, but she Googled herself one day and much to my surprise, all of this came up. And she was devastated. She -
- her first words to me were, why did the president not like me? Why does he not like me? Is what she said, her exact words.
And I'll never forget it because I -- as much as I try to explain to her that this was not about her, it was about politics, it was about being, you
know, maybe mean, you know, all the kinds of things that we talk about within a political campaign. She still didn't understand that and she's
still deeply hurt. We're still getting over this, believe it or not. And she's 30 years old now.
AMANPOUR: I wonder if she takes any comfort from the -- you know, the activism on the streets, the Black Lives Matter movement, the black, brown,
Asian, you know, it matters now and there's a huge amount of respect. I wonder if she's getting any comfort from that.
MCCAIN: She does. You know, she actually -- we've had quite a few discussions about it and, you know, just kind of, obviously, she follows
the news like the rest of us and just her attitude towards what was occurring and what is occurring and her willingness to be a part of the
process actually. And also -- just also, understand how she can better help people of her same color and of her same decent.
So, I mean, she is a lovely young girl. She's artistic. She's love of our life. And I'm just so sorry that she had to endure anything like this.
AMANPOUR: Well, Cindy McCain, thank you so much for joining us. It's a great story.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Let's get a different perspective now on India's COVID catastrophe, which we touched on, of course, earlier. The country now
accounts for nearly half of all the cases reported around the world in the past week. That's according to the WHO.
Barkha Dutt is a veteran journalist who's on the front lines reporting on this crisis and she's the founder and editor of the digital platform, Mojo
Story. Also, a columnist to the "The Washington Post." And here she is talking with Hari Sreenivasan from New Delhi about losing her father to
COVID and the very latest in her homeland.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Barkha Dutt, thanks for joining us.
I know this is a difficult time for you and I do want to ask a little bit about your personal story because your personal story is similar to what
thousands of people in India are going through right now. So, tell me a little bit about the challenges that you started to face as your father
BARKHA DUTT, FOUNDER AND EDITOR, MOJO STORY: So, Hari, thanks for having me. And, you know, I think like any daughter, I was mortified when my
father tested positive for COVID. But in the beginning, you know, following the signs, because he did not seem terribly ill, we thought we could manage
him at home, that's what the doctors advised as well. But as so often happens in these cases, his fever spikes suddenly and the doctors then
said, we've got to get him to hospital.
I ended up organizing and calling for a private ambulance. When this ambulance arrived, it turned out to be not an ambulance at all but a
secondhand car without any key -- sort of paramedics as crew. But by then, I was in such a state of panic thinking that I had to be in a rush to get
my dad to a hospital and maybe it was better to take this chance because losing any time, you know, could mean things getting worse.
On the way, basically, the oxygen cylinder malfunction. It did not administer the high oxygen (ph) that it should have. And by the time we got
my dad to medical attention, his oxygen levels had plummeted and he had to be wheeled in to ICU. He never made it back alive out of that ICU despite
excellent medical intervention.
In this moment, of course, the devastation as news literally came home for me, because for the last 15 months, I've been covering no other story but
this pandemic and this became the story I was reporting. I became the story I was reporting. I was still mindful that though I lost my dad I am -- and
he was luckier than what every other Indian is possibly going through.
Because we're at a point when people are not getting on the insides of hospitals, emergency wards are shutting their doors, oxygen is out at many
premier hospitals, not in villages or smaller towns, but in the capital City of India. There is not an ICU bed to be had for love or for money. And
places of worship have now had to start distributing oxygen instead of food so that people can come and get 30 minutes of a puff from an oxygen
cylinder that is loaned out to them almost rationing out a few extra moments of life.
So, I lost my dad but he was still luckier because he got a chance, at least for five days to fight to live. Most people aren't getting those five
days, they're not even getting one day.
SREENIVASAN: What was the last time that you remember speaking to your dad? I'm assuming that you were not able to go inside the ICU.
DUTT: Yes. My last conversation with him was on a crackly FaceTime, which the doctor was attending to him in the ICU. Dialed him in. And, you know,
he had this big mask on his face. He was on oxygen support by then. And he said to me, he said, I'm choking. He meant that he was having trouble
breathing. I'm choking. Give me treatment. I want to get better. And the doctors really, really tried.
And one of the things that they did for him, Hari, is that they found that he was claustrophobic in that mask and they removed the mask and we gave
him a high flow cannula. The reason I mention this detail to you is because according to the new government of India advisory, you can no longer remove
masks and give cannulas to elderly people because they consume too much oxygen.
So, elderly people who are already frightened out of their wits, who are alone in ICUs without their families, who are feeling claustrophobic with
these big masks, who sometimes are given for easier breathing, lighter, little pipes into their new rules, according to a government of India
advisory, because the consume too much oxygen and there isn't enough oxygen to be had, can no longer be given even that treatment.
And, of course, I'm haunted by my father's last words because he really wanted to get better. He was a man of science. He was vaccinated. He had
one jab. He was due for his second jab when the spike hit him. And, of course, like so many Indians, I'm wondering had my government just started
the vaccine rollout earlier, had my dad just got the first jab and therefore the second jab earlier, maybe, just maybe, he would have been
SREENIVASAN: What happened after is -- in your story, is as unimaginable for people in the United States and anywhere in the world. You know, this
happened at a time when we were seeing images of crematoriums that were working all night long. How did you get to say your final good-bye?
DUTT: We were able to get him out in an ambulance to a crematorium that like every other cremation and burial ground across India did not have
enough space. So, basically, what happens is you go and you get a token, you get like a coupon and you wait for your turn and, you know, you plead.
If you know somebody, you ask for help.
We landed up, my sister and I, at the designated time, but it turned out that three other families and also been given the same designated time.
There was a scrum. There was an argument. My sister had to seek help of the police. I could barely recognize my own -- you know, this was a story that
covered -- it would have involved other people. And now, I was living out everything that I otherwise report. And we, with the benefit -- with the
help of the police who came and settled in camps, you know, tempers down because people were like, no. Now, it's my turn. No. It's now my turn.
That's the kind of rush.
There is a cremation ground, Hari. So, in the shadow of police intervention is how we cremated my dad. And, you know, I just want to make the point
that I never ever thought that I would be seeing such a moment. And yes. But that's -- that is how it played out.
SREENIVASAN: I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. But this also indicated to you, in your reporting, that there is a significant undercount
whatever the official government statistics are on the number of people dead in India is nothing close to what you are witnessing firsthand.
DUTT: So, there's been a very, very facile backlash in certain quarters of the rightwing commentator as to why some of us are reporting from
commission grounds and burial grounds at all. And I'll tell you why it's important. Because if you do not go to these funeral sites, not just do you
not get a sense of the scale of the calamity but you also do not get a sense of the undercounting and the underreporting of the fatalities that is
So, let me give you an example. In the capital city, I announced, reported from a cremation ground, not the one where I cremated my father, but a
separate one, where the undertaker told me that at the peak of the first wave in 2020, he would cremate 25 to 30 bodies a night. Now, every night
this past week, he has created, just that one single site, a 100 to 125 bodies. Whereas the entire death count for Delhi is under 400, not
plausible considering you're looking at 100 to 125 bodies just in one cremation site among dozens in the capital.
I have personally seen a similar gap in numbers of bodies and (INAUDIBLE) that have I counted and what the district of the entire state sometimes
reporting back myself. That gap could be, at the very least, four times, it could even be higher. Even in terms of caseload, I've had doctors telling
me that when the laboratories are sometimes returning to many positive tests, they get a call from somebody in the government, this doctor did not
specify, he owns a big prominent chair -- chain of testing laboratories and he was told basically, get a go slow.
There's a sense and I think it's a very wrong thing to do, the absence of transparency. Some for his incompetent. Some of it is the fact that we are
not, you know, classifying everything as a COVID death. For example, if somebody dies because the oxygen ran out, is it to be counted as a COVID
death of not?
If somebody died because he had diabetes and COVID, is it being counted as a COVID death or not? So, the combination of cracks in the system,
incompetence, lack of transparency. You know, all of it is coming together to point to a serious under telling of the COVID that calamity in India
both in terms of fatalities and the case load.
SREENIVASAN: You know, all you have to do is look at your Twitter feed and the backlash that you received to see that, in some ways, you know, we just
had a conversation here in the United States about how this has gone from a health crisis to a political crisis, and people that support the ruling
party and the government, they're vitriol towards you and other reporters that are pointing this out, it seems almost personal to them that it's an
affront to their idea of the India that they live. And this is kind of two alternate realities here, on what you're describing and the image projected
by people who support the party right now.
DUTT: And it's an affront to me as an Indian and as a daughter who's grieved that a government or government supporters care more about how "The
New York Times" or "The Post" or "CNN" or "PBS" is talking about them than about saving the lives of the people in the streets.
I cannot even believe that in the midst of this crisis there has actually been a meeting that has been held to discuss what's been described as the
one-sided narrative about India in the western press, as if these matters. And I cannot believe that the government or sections of the government and
the Election Commission are not owning up to their share of the responsibility to the fact that Mahmoud rallies, political rallies and mass
gatherings continue to be held as the calamity was unfolding.
I just interviewed the 15-year-old daughter of a schoolteacher in India's most populous state, (INAUDIBLE). That -- this girl's father is among 706
teachers that union say have died because they were sent on election duty in the middle of the COVID pandemic. 706 teachers the unions are saying
have died because they were forcibly left with no choice sent on election duty in the middle of this pandemic.
So, I think the Election Commission and sections of the government are responsible for criminal negligence and having brought us to this point.
And the fact that some of their far right supporters are more obsessed about how the western media is looking to them is an affront to me as an
SREENIVASAN: How we got to this place is something that I think the world is struggling to grasp. The difference between last year and this year. I
mean, a month and a half ago, two months ago, India was fairly confident. I mean, the world was looking at the country saying, wow. How did you escape
this? Yet, it seemed completely unprepared for the second wave that happened everywhere else.
DUTT: So, Hari, I think that in 2020, we, as people, were a lot prepared forgive mistakes that our government might have made. There was a lot of
faith in the intent, there was a lot more of an acceptance that there -- you know, we didn't understand everything about the pandemic.
But 2021, the biggest difference between then and now is vaccines. We had no instruments to fight COVID in 2020. In 2021, we had those instruments.
We had the weapons. And I think what people are really, really angry about is that the government got obsessed with some sort of token nationalism,
some idea of (INAUDIBLE) their vaccine, refused to give approvals to foreign made vaccines thinking it must have a vaccine that had been
manufactured fully in India.
And then did not even go and purchase enough of the India made vaccines, leave alone getting approvals to the other vaccines. As a result, we have
lost two critical months that could have made the difference between thousands and thousands of lives lost and saved.
And today, in the middle of the second wave, when we need our vaccine range to be higher than ever before, it's at its lowest level ever. We expect to
see shortages through the month of July. People who were scheduled, the elderly among them, for their second dose have not been able to receive
their second shot.
And I think that there was a spectacular underestimation, a willful underestimation, if you will, of the second wave, an early triumphalism and
then the tone deafness of continuing to campaign at mass congregations and political rallies through this entire period when India was being ravaged
by the second wave.
SREENIVASAN: So, right now, regardless of how fast you could spool up a vaccine that was made in India or that was made overseas, that's not going
to get you through this oxygen crisis that you're facing. I mean, what -- you had a story online outside of a hospital, and it was just heartbreaking
to watch, but these people were dying because they didn't have enough air, they couldn't breathe. I mean, that was the central problem.
DUTT: Yes. I met a young girl who showed me her father's last WhatsApp message. And her father's last WhatsApp message to her outside of this
hospital was, the hospital doesn't have oxygen. So, this girl that went running around to privately arrange oxygen cylinders, these are the images
we're now seeing, patients are carrying along with back boxes of lunch into hospitals, you know, bought in black, it's been called Gold Dust cylinder
for the price of anything to somehow get it to their loved ones inside hospital. But, of course, one cylinder at a time is not enough to save
There are not enough vaccines to get us out of this crisis in any short- term immediate way. Vaccines, yes, are the only medium to long-term answer. But we're too late to these vaccines lead us out of this crisis. So, the
only thing that can save lives in India right now is oxygen. And to make matters worse, we know that a considerable amount of foreign aid arrived in
India, Hari, on the 25th of April and it sat there for seven days, seven critical days awaiting distribution to the states.
We've got, therefore, levels of incompetence and bureaucratic red tape here that is playing with lives. And I am urging at a personal level as a
citizen for the Indian military to now be deployed because I have lost faith in the capacity of the civilian institutions and mechanisms to be
able to do this at the pace at which it needs to be done.
SREENIVASAN: What's the government's response right now to the criticism that they're facing? I mean, we had a representative on the program that
was talking about how, you know, this could have been much better if the west had let go some of its vaccine patents or opened up some of those
intellectual property laws. I mean, is that defraying the responsibility?
DUTT: I mean, I think there always be time for a philosophical conversation on patents and technology sharing. And sure, even personally,
I wish that the U.S. would part with its vaccines before thinking of vaccinating teenagers, which I think Pfizer and Moderna are now getting
approvals to do.
But you know what, I understand that every country has to first look after its own interests. And my question to my government would be, you've now
told Pfizer, come in, bring your vaccines. You're now taking Pfizer's vaccines.
Two months ago, you weren't ready. Two months ago, you weren't ready to take Sputnik. Now, you're taking Sputnik. Two months ago, India's financial
capital, Mumbai and the State of Maharashtra wanted permission to do door to door vaccines and you had so centralized the vaccine roll out that you
didn't even give them that permission.
You did not give India's worst affected state the permission to do door to door vaccines. Two months ago, you could have just ordered in the vaccines
and, you know, cleared the same files that you've had to do now in the face of a calamity, you didn't do it. It's on us. There is no point blaming the
world. The world -- we do need the world's help, but it's not the world's fault we are here.
SREENIVASAN: Barkha Dutt, thanks so much for your story and thanks for joining us.
DUTT: Thanks for having me, Hari. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: A call to arms from India there. And that's 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.