CNN town halls with Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson

By Veronica Rocha and Dan Merica, CNN

Updated 8:20 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019
9 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:06 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019

Williamson says she would take a hardline approach to Israel if elected president

From CNN's Dan Merica

Marianne Williamson, who – if elected president – would be the first Jewish leader of the United States, said while she would both support “the legitimate security concerns of Israel” and “the human rights and dignities and economic opportunities of the Palestinian people,” she would take a significantly hardline approach to the Jewish state.

“It’s been a long time since the United States could actually be considered by either side as an honest broker,” Williamson said.

“With me as president, they will know that they have in the United States a president who listens deeply and totally hears; the leaders of the Palestinian authority will know I listen very deeply.”

Williamson laid out a view of U.S.-Israeli policy that was significantly different than Trump and took aim at much of what the President has done on the issue.

“In me, you would have a president who says those settlements are illegal,” she said. “I would rescind the president’s affirmation of sovereignty of Israel over the Golan Heights.”

Williamson also personalized the issue, mentioning that her “love for Israel is second only to my love for the United States.”

"The alliance of the United States with Israel is extremely important,” Williamson said. “It should be extremely important to all of us. If I’m president of the United States, the world will know, our greatest ally is humanity itself.”

She closed the answer by joking how she has experience in marriage counseling: “The fact I’ve had 35 year doing counseling with couples is something I bring to this table."

6:37 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019

Williamson says she sees health care as broader than just Medicare for All

From CNN's Dan Merica

Marianne Williamson said Sunday that she supports "Medicare for All," but sees health care as a broader conversation about things that stress Americans, toxins in food and the impact of environmental policies.

The holistic approach shows how Williamson, an author and activist running for the Democratic nomination in 2020, sees health care as more than just access to a doctor.

“When I’m president, we’re going to be talking about how to create greater health from the beginning,” Williamson said.

“That will save a lot of money. There’s so much about our diet, our lifestyle and so much about the economic stress that actually causes the very conditions that produce illness. That’s why if we’re going to talk about health in America, we have to talk about the foods, toxins. We have to talk about our environmental policies. We need to go a lot deeper.”

Williamson said she supports Medicare for All “as a public option.”

“I think a lot of people would gravitate that,” she said. “If people want private insurance or want to augment it, then they should be able to.”

Democrats are openly debating how to handle health care in 2020 and a number of candidates are embracing Medicare for All.

6:30 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019

Williamson on reparations: "Whatever it costs, it's time to do this"

Democratic presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson said she supports reparations for African-Americans whose ancestors were slaves.

"This is not a debt we can afford to delay any longer. The economic restitution for two and a half centuries of slavery followed by 100 years of domestic terrorism," the Democratic hopeful said. 

She added: "This country will not heal until we take a serious morale inventory. A nation must undergo the same level deep morale inventory. Admission of character defects. Racism is a character defect. Let's end this. Let's fix this. Let's solve this. Reparations won't end everything but it will be a profound gift. It implies a mea culpa. It implies a recognition of a debt owed and therefore, it carries not only economic power but spiritual force whatever it costs, it's time to do this."

6:24 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019

Williamson says President Trump "clearly has fascist leanings"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Marianne Williamson, an author and activist running for the Democratic nomination in 2020, said Sunday that President Donald Trump has “fascist leanings.”

The answer came after Williamson was asked whether she supported the impeachment of Trump.

“Has he committed impeachable offenses, and should he be impeached? Do I feel he’s committed impeachable offenses? Absolutely,” she said. But she later said, “There’s things about his behavior I would consider impeachable offenses. That’s a different question whether or not he should be give impeached.”

She added: “I think this president clearly has fascist leanings and we need to stop pretending this isn’t true.”

Williamson said she would leave it to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi whether Democrats should move articles of impeachment. But she said it was unlikely to be successful given “as long as (Republicans) are in charge of the Senate.”

House Democrats have yet to move on articles of impeachment, but there is a loud group of lawmakers and Democratic activists who support impeaching Trump.

6:17 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019

Williamson: The US has been "sliding for the last 40 years away from democracy and into aristocracy"

From CNN's Dan Merica

Marianne Williamson, an author and activist running for the Democratic nomination in 2020, argued her candidacy should be taken seriously because “we have been sliding for the last 40 years away from democracy and into aristocracy” and she is willing to “name what everybody else knows and they won’t name.”

Williamson said that her campaign is against the establishment of politics – on both sides – that has controlled American politics. But the author largely brushed off qualification questions and declined to get into her ability to actually run a government.

“What’s happened in this country didn’t come out of nowhere. We have a crisis in our democracy. That’s due to the fact we have been sliding for the last 40 years away from democracy and into aristocracy because of tax policies,” Williamson said. “Because of corporate subsidies, the nefarious influence of money on our system. We have gone from a system where we prize in an economic as well as political democracy, equal opportunity for everyone to a situation where a small group of people. This is what we repudiated in 1776.”

Asked directly by CNN’s Dana Bash for her qualification in actually running a government, Williamson said, “My qualification is I’ll name what everybody else knows and they won’t name.”

6:05 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019

NOW: Marianne Williamson town hall

Democratic presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson's town hall starts now. You can watch it in the video player above.

7:24 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019

In the Green Room with Marianne Williamson

Democratic presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson chatted with CNN and answered a few questions before tonight's town hall.

We asked her six, simple questions so voters can get to know her better.

Here's what she said:

CNN: What's one thing about you that surprises people?

Williamson: "I don't think there is very much about me that surprise people because I think that for about 35 years I've been sort of laying it all out there."

CNN: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Williamson: "The best piece of advice I think I've ever received was to sort of get over myself. To remember that a vast majority of situations, it's really not about you, Marianne. Make it less about you and more about other people."

CNN: What’s your favorite movie?

Williamson: "My favorite movie is 'The Mission.'"

CNN: What was the last book you read?

Williamson: "The last book I read was 'Tyranny' by Tim Snyder. Very scary, but very important."

CNN: What is your greatest accomplishment?

Williamson: "My greatest accomplishment is that I have a happy, well-adjusted and productive daughter. Although it's not really my accomplishment, it's her accomplishment. But maybe my accomplishment has something to do with it and that fact that she and I have such a great relationship. Definitely motherhood is my highest accomplishment."

CNN: What three issues do we have to deal with right now?

Williamson: "It's difficult to say that there are three issues to deal with right now because there are so many issues we have to deal with right now. But I think there is an underlying issue that is paramount ... the influence of money on our politics right now is extraordinary that for all intents and purposes our government behaves more like it's supporting an aristocracy than a democracy."

6:02 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019

What you need to know about Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson is best known for being a spiritual counselor to Oprah Winfrey and has written several best-selling books, including her debut "A Return to Love."

She formally launched her campaign in January with a speech in Los Angeles. 

Here's what Williamson plans to bring to the race:

  • Her campaign website outlines her proposals that mostly align with progressive policies like universal health care, free higher education and a Green New Deal.
  • She's also proposing $100 billion in reparations for slavery, $10 billion a year to be distributed over 10 years.
  • Williamson said she running to bring a "moral and spiritual awakening" for America.
5:42 p.m. ET, April 14, 2019

Spiritual author Marianne Williamson joins CNN for a town hall tonight

Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Project Angel Food
Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Project Angel Food

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, a best-selling author who is a spiritual counselor to Oprah Winfrey, will take questions from voters at a town hall tonight.

The event, which starts at 6 p.m. ET, will be moderated by CNN's Dana Bash.

Williamson, a Texas native, has written several best-selling books beginning with her first, "A Return to Love," which got the attention of Winfrey. Since then, Williamson has been a "spiritual friend and counselor" to Winfrey.

In 2014, Williamson ran for a congressional seat in California only to finish fourth in the primary, despite name recognition, $2 million spent, and celebrity endorsements, including a campaign song written by Alanis Morissette. That seat eventually went to Rep. Ted Lieu.

She endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election.