Amanpour Mocks Trump's 'America First' as 'First' in Corona-Deaths

 Amanpour Mocks Trump's 'America First' as 'First' in Corona-Deaths

On Tuesday’s Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International, host Christiane Amanpour’s hyperbole button was on as she essentially mocked President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy by touting misleading claims that America is “first” in coronavirus infections and deaths, and also highlighted quotes calling the U.S. a “collapsing republic” and likening it to a “Third World dictatorship.”

Amanpour, who in 2008 proclaimed Obama “brought America back” merely be getting elected, lunged into Trump hatred by quoting William Burns, Obama’s Deputy Secretary of State from 2011 to 2014, mocking Trump’s “America First” rhetoric in the Financial Times.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I think it’s important to reiterate that the result of all this is one and a half million infections and 90,000 deaths, and, sadly, one of the great diplomats of the United States — the veteran Bill Burns of the State Department — said: “America is first in the world in deaths — first in the world in infections — and we stand out as an emblem of global incompetence. The damage to America’s influence and reputation will be very hard to undo.” So that’s Bill Burns’ take on “America First.”

It was not mentioned by anyone that, on a per capita basis, the official count finds that Europe has experienced a substantially higher death rate than the U.S., or that the same Financial Times has suggested that many of the officially reported numbers may be substantially inaccurate.

In an earlier segment with New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, as the two discussed President Trump’s history of firing inspectors general, she cued up the Democratic Senator to complain about the firings by quoting another Obama man, former ethics official Walter Shaub, suggesting the Trump administration is moving toward authoritarianism.

Setting up the next segment, Amanpour read another quote of Shaub attacking the administration:

AMANPOUR: Former government ethics chief Walter Shaub also had this blunt advice for journalists covering this President and this administration. He said: “Cover it like you’re a foreign correspondent in a collapsing republic. Because you are.”

Amanpour then introduced as guests Susan Glasser of The New Yorker and Ed Luce of the Financial Times. She began the discussion by again citing Shaub attacking President Trump: “Walter Shaub now telling you all to cover this administration as if it was, you know, you know, a Third World whatever he actually said about it, you know, dictatorship.”

In her response, Glasser asserted that covering the Trump administration reminds her of her time covering the Russian government of Vladimir Putin:

SUSAN GLASSER, THE NEW YORKER: What we’re seeing I think is the fusion of an approach to American internal politics where this polarization has now also I think become America’s foreign policy of withdrawing from the world, of creating a series of zero sum confrontations that frankly reminds me more in some ways of when I was a correspondent in Putin’s Russia than it does to the traditional American approach to foreign policy.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, May 19, Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So do you believe — do you agree with what Walter Shaub — the former ethics official said — that this is late-stage corruption — that firing these removes the last bulwark before authoritarianism sets in. I mean, those are pretty dramatic accusations. Do you agree with that?

[SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ)]

AMANPOUR: And very finally because you talked about global health and of course America is in this terrible situation of being the world’s — I mean, America first in terms of infections and deaths, and it’s very, very sad. The President has China in his crosshairs. I realize bipartisan issues exist with China in the United States, but do you think now is the time to pull the funding or threaten to pull all the funding for the WHO — in the middle of a pandemic?

(…)

AMANPOUR: Former government ethics chief Walter Shaub also had this blunt advice for journalists covering this President and this administration. He said: “Cover it like you’re a foreign correspondent in a collapsing republic. Because you are.”

(…)

AMANPOUR: Walter Shaub now telling you all to cover this administration as if it was, you know, you know, a Third World whatever he actually said about it, you know, dictatorship.

SUSAN GLASSER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, Christiane, thank you so much. I thought for a long time that this is covering Washington right now, and I’ve been doing this on and off for longer than I would like to admit, but almost three decades. And the truth is, is that Washington is the epicenter, I think, of global instability.

That was something a senior Japanese diplomat said to [Clinton Deputy Secretary of State] Strobe Talbott at the very beginning of the Trump administration, and I often think back on those words when we’re trying to frame the stakes for people of what’s happening here right now and what the unique kind of function of America’s domestic politics means internationally because really what we’re seeing I think is the fusion of an approach to American internal politics where this polarization has now also I think become America’s foreign policy of withdrawing from the world, of creating a series of zero sum confrontations that frankly reminds me more in some ways of when I was a correspondent in Putin’s Russia than it does to the traditional American approach to foreign policy.

But right now, as you pointed out, the U.S. has never been more absent from the basic institutions and mechanisms of international cooperation. The only trip the Secretary of State has made since this pandemic began was a short trip to Israel this week, and I think it does speak to American isolation in a way that I’m just utterly unfamiliar with. It’s just something new. 

AMANPOUR: It also has a dramatic effect at home, and, Ed Luce, of course you are there in the United States  — you are a foreign correspondent for all intents and purposes, American editor of the FT there, and you have had a pretty dramatic cover story this weekend titled, “Inside Trump’s Coronavirus Meltdown.”

How is this current description of this administration actually playing out inside the U.S.? And why do you think it is? I mean, the obvious question is: Why do you think — and what have you found in your reporting that’s led, you know, this terrible infection and death toll and failure to deal with this pandemic?

ED LUCE, FINANCIAL TIMES: You know, I came across a lot of people in the administration or around the administration who referred to the coronavirus and likened it to the 9/11 attacks,and — but George W. Bush was warned once explicitly at his home in Crawford, Texas, about that a few weeks before the plot came to fruition. By contrast, Donald Trump was warned countless times over many, many weeks about something that was definitely going to happen. 

(…)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I think it’s important to reiterate that the result of all this is one and a half million infections and 90,000 deaths, and, sadly, one of the great diplomats of the United States — the veteran Bill Burns of the State Department — said: “America is first in the world in deaths — first in the world in infections — and we stand out as an emblem of global incompetence. The damage to America’s influence and reputation will be very hard to undo.” So that’s Bill Burns’ take on “America First.”