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tv   Firing Line With Margaret Hoover  PBS  December 14, 2019 5:30am-6:01am PST

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>> many people think s she could be the first female president, " this week ring line." >> i wear heels. it's not for a fashion statement. it's because if i see something wrong, wre gonna kick them every single time. >> her résumé is a string of firsts and some delicate diplomacy. nikki haley was the first person of color and the first woman to bece a governor of south carolina, a republican who took down the confederate flag. >> it's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds. [ cheers a applause ] >> she tn became the first indian-american to serve in a president's cabinet. the ambassador to the united nations who pushed her version of donald trump's america first policy. >> you are gonna see a change in the way we do business. for those that don't have our back, we're taking names. >> haley says she voiced her disagreements with president trump directly and i private. >> i told him the truth. if i saw something wrong, i saii thhoht it was wrong. >> with the nation facing presidential election,sive
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what does ambassador nikkialey say now? >> "firing line with margaret hoov" is made possible by... additional fundi is provided by... corporate funding is provided by... >> welcome to firing line," nikki haley. >> thank you. it's great to be here. the united states ambassadore to the united nations. you were a mber of esident trump's cabinet and a member of his irtional security council. and you were the person of color and woman to be elected as governor to the state of south carolina. ecu've now written a book, "with all due re defending america with grit and grace." when you first considered taking the job as united states ambassador the united nations,nc you told rpriebus, you wrote in your book, don't even know u what tted nations does.
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all i know is everybody hates it." yeah. >> tell me, do you have a onre or a less positive view of the united nanow? >> i think it's interesting. i think i understand it more, from the standpoint of here you have 193 countries of peace and secur in the name but whether it succeeds depends on how they take it forward. d i said this to the secretary general and to the ambassadors when i left is, if the united nationss gonnbe successful, it has to change with the times. ey have to start talking about things that are uncomfortable to talk about. they have to talk about what maduro is doing in venezuela they have to talk about a million plus uyghurs in concentration camps in china. they have to talk about these things they don't want to talk about. to continue to talk about decades-old issues as if they're relevant today is what makes people doubt the united nations. >> well, i glad you mentioned the uyghurs and venezuela, maduro.
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human rights was a focus of yours when you were u.n. ambassador. and i wonder, what helped u decide >> i think i strongly believe that every single personde rves human dignity. and what i saw was,do if a governmenn't treat its people well, conflict will follow. and so if we defend human rights, it's prevention towards conflict.lo you ca at what happened with the arab spring. you can look at syria. started with a group of teenagers that justme spray-painted ing on the wall against the government, and the government came in, took those kids, beat them, pulled their nails out, returned them bloody and bruised to their parents, and their parents went to the streets and ped. using the power thiceles people dictates whether conflict will happen. so if we always fight and defend human rights for all people, we're actually doing prevention of confliclater.
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>> do you believe that president trump cares about human ghts as much as you did when you were there? >> i do think he cares about human rights, because wh i was going and pushing for human rights to be heard in the united nations,he he wasne that was supporting me in doing that. so he also understandsth importance of standing up for people who can't stand up for themselves. >> would it be helpful if he expressed it as often asou did? >> well, i tried to pick u the pieces when i didn't think e administration was saying it enough. that's when i tried to go and really put an emphasis on it. and so my job was to go and support at he was doing but also add another layer to talk about the things that i tught were importt that i knew he cared about. >> so, when you were at the u.n., timately the united states ended up withdrawing from the u.n. human rights council. as i understand it, you had two main criticis of it. one of them had to do with who the other members t council were. >> right. >> why was that important? >> well, i think that you know, wh had happened was the human rights council became a place that human rights abusers went to so
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that they wouldn't be called out. when you've got saudi arabia, when you've govenezuela, when you've got the democratic republic of congo sitting on the human rights council, it automatically disquifies it from being anything related to human rights.on and then the sthing was, you know, you have all of these issues happening in the world, but they have one agenda item that foces solely on israel. and so the human rights council really was a place to do israel bashing and for human-rights abusers to hide and keep anyone from calling them out on it. >> in fact, as you point out in your book, the human rights council criticized israel 10 times as much as it criticized countries like iran. >> it did, yes >> so then, how do you answer your critics who say that you value american leadership and american leadership is important in the world, so how do you continue to emphasize and focus on human rights if yoo withdrawthe organization ose central purpose is to >> we had literally hundred--
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over a hundred meetings, trying to reform the everyone, for the most part, agreed with us that it was an embarrassment. but no one would go out publicly and say it. and the last str for me was, they came back to me and said, "but the united states is the last great hope y r the human rights council." and i thought, "uld we legitimize something that's such a farce?" we can fight for human rights. we don't need a rce council to do that. >> in ur book, you also write that the u.n. -- not just the hrc but the u.n. -- has a long, ugly historyf anti-israel bias. you have many examples in your book, including in 1975,wh the u.n. declared that zionism was actually and the u.n. ambassador at that time was daniel patrick moynihan with william f. buckley jr. a year later to discuss that. i'd like you to take a look and react. >> on the zionism tter, that was another interesting day, and it's been very badly reported that you resist
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these nations, they will get angry and never forgive you and forth. well, in fact, they were angry and had never forgiven you in the beginning, partly because it was cost-free. the proposition that zionism is a form of racism,is racialimination, it is an outrage. a lie. we are still the most important country in the world, and they know it. >> well, it's -- i think they do know it. d i think that the knowledge of it is sometimes temptation to tweak our tail on the grounds that th do so with relative impunity, which has been, historically, something that you have greatly resisted. >> my question to you is, did you encounter this attitude outhat moynihan discusses a concern about angering nation uld vote against israel?ha >> i think tt when i came in, it was just so amazing at how abusive
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these countries were to israel. and, tme, what was important was that we had the backs of our allies, and israel's a bright spot in a tough neighborhood. and what there was, was a habit of just beating israel down because th could. and i think it was just after the 1967 war when they realized that they couldn't defeat israel on the battlefield. they decided to try and do ithe atnited nations. and i thought it was so important that we stand up forhe them and letknow we weren't going to let them do crat any more. >> there are somics who would say that you were overly focused on israel. w do you reply to them? >> i think the united nations is overly focused on israel. all i did was defend it whenever they were called out.th >> do you thin the u.n. is an effective actor in international relations? >> i think the u.n. can be an effective actor, and the perfect example is what we did with north korea. when we passed those three sanctions that really pushedth
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them tnegotiating table, that was a sign that the united nations can do good things. when they go and continue to have these irrelevant meetingsth on issue aren't really our main focus ithe world, that's when they become irrelevant. >> sthen, on north korea -- so, in recent days, rsader kim jong-un has visited mount paektu on ack. it's a backdrop that is used for propaganda, and oftentimes, it foreshadows a policy development or an event,n upcoming event. what do you think is going onea in north kight now? >> i think he's trying to push our buttons. i think he's trying get us to move on the fact that he wants us to lift the sanctions. t any sort of ing is not going to get us to move,m and we have e sure we hold the international community togetherth in isolang norea. there's only one way out for them, and that is for them b willing to denuclearize. at this point, they're asking us to do wh they've asked multiple times before,
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and we're doing something oneferent than we've multiple times before, which is standing strong, saying, "we're not gonna lift the sanctions until we see better actions from >> then help me understand something that happened at the u.n. this week, because at the t u.s week, the united states blocked a u.n. security council meeting tson north korean human ri it is really hard to imagineki ambassador naley blocking a united states -- ora u.n. security council meeting on north korean human rights. what do you suspect that's about? >> we actually held etings on human rights, and it made them so upset that weid it. >> and they said that if you hold this meeting, this will be considered a provn. that doesn't seem to me to be something that would have sced you away. >> well, i jusdon't think that we bind at threats. i mean -- >>o, why did we here? >> you know, i think that they went ahead, they did have a meeting on north korea. ey had it the ballistic missile testing and what they're doing. >> but not on human rights. >> i think they should've had it on human rightin i it's really important that we continue to call out
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north korea for how they treat teople. every dollar that goes into north korea doesn't go to feed its people.>> f you had been there, why they have done it that way? >> i would've pushed back. i would've pushed back and sd, "we have to address this. we have to keep fighting for the people in north korea who nt a better life." >> do you suspect it was a negotiation happening bend the scenes, between, you know, president trump and his national security team? er it's hard for me to know what's going on right now. i would guess that they did show signs of threats and they did want to have the united states pull it down. i just would advise -- be very careful. don't listen to the threats. the second wstart listing to the threats, they think they've got an in with us. y you know, another place where you were vtive when you were u.n. ambassador at the -- u.s. ambassador to the u.n. -- wawith respect to iran. since the recent protests in iran have begun, more than 1,000 one of the criticisms of withdrawing from the iran deal was that we were leavi our allies hanging, and that the united states might
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not actually be able to put adequate pressure onalone in order to force them back to the negotiating table. does this demonstrate that, actually, american sanctions can work bthemselves and american leadership can work on its own? i >> well, i thiwas important for us to lead in e way that the united states said' not gonna turn a blind eye to all this bad activity by iran." just because you get involved in a deal, if the deal's not working, you don't stay it because of your own ego being part of the deal. you get out of it and say, "this isn't working. we're gonna chan it." >> do you think that there is a chance that they will come back to the negotiating table? >> we know iran is in a worse spot than they were before they signed the deal in the first place. so they are feeling the pressure. they could make one of o decisions. they can either go the extremist, dangerous route thate we know thatve done before or they can come back to the negotiating table. the best way for us to hope that they come back to the negotiating table o
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is f allies to join in isolang them like we did with north korea, to where they don't have anywherelse to turn. and i think we're getting close to that. as long as they have an out, they're gonna trand push back as much as they can. but we have to remember the united stas doesn't respond to fear, the united states shows strength. united states needs to and the united states needs to remind the rest of the world an is dangerous and why we have to make sure that we isolate them in every way that we can. >> another question for you. the new york times editorial bod, which has reviewed so t mamp officials and cabinet officials, wrote when you left the administration... first of all, i've rarely heard such a laudatory new york times editorial about a trump administration official. but do you view that, in hindsight, as what your role w, to explain
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president trump to the world? >> i wanted them to know what the united states was for, d i want them to know what we were against. and i didn't want the to be angray area. i didn't worry about them liking us. i worried about them understanding and respecting us. and so whether that wasni expl the actions of the president or whether that was explaining why it was so important tohe american people, i felt that was my job. >> you were a bit of a translator between the u.n. and the u.s. i remember in your book, you wrote about how you told the president to think of the u.n. as church. >> yes. >> that it wasn't a rally. >> right. >> here's a clip of the president at the u.n. let's take a look. >> in less than two years, my administration has accomplished mohan almosty ministration in the history of our countr america's -- so true. [ laughter ] didn't expect that reaction, but that's okay. [ laughter ]he
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>> as yo the general assembly laughing at president trump... there's a recent pew study that suggests that america's standing in the worldst after the 1/2 years has actually declined amonmany nations. there is a sense thata ce steadfast belief in the dependability of the united statesll with ours has slipped. >> oer countries need to understand it's not the united states' role to carry the wei of the world. they have to do their part. so we've had hard discussions with our brothers and sisters in europe and around the world that just expect us to do for them with no partnership in return. and so, having them step uin nato and having now wt was four now being nine countries paying their share, that tough love needed to ppen. the other side of it is, we have to have the backs of our allies. they need to knowth
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when we're in the foxhole, we've got their back. and that's why that syria w decisi so important, because when the kurds have lost so mh blood in the name of fighting terrorism, we have to stand with them. we have to let them kn that that bloodshed mattered. and i'm glad the preside decided to leave troops there, whether it's to guard the oilth or for reasons, because for intelligenceurposes, but also for the fact that that partnership, have to let them know it meant something. >> i agree wh you th that's the message the world needs to hear, but i'm not sure they're hearing it, which is, i think, what's reflected in ew study, that our standing still has slipped. >>ometimes when you lead, people don't like it. nnt we should make sure that they know we're stand in allegiance with our allies, but we're gonnhave tough love with our brothers and sisters to know we're in this together and we all have to sacrifice and pull weight. o >> another oyour predecessors at the u.n., ambassador jeaneirkpatrick,th appeared o program with william f. buckley jr. in 1985 and addressed the
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estion of whether, given all of its problems, the united states should leave the u.n. altogether. >> i think it depe whether the u.n. is relevant. as long as they are willing to talk abt the hard issues, the united states should stay part of that discussion. i but is now, they have start looking at the burden sharing, they' got to start moving with the times, they have to be flexible to realize they've got to change. it's not the united states that needs to change. it's the united nations that needs to change with where the world is toda d so i think it's "to be decided," based on whether we are getting a return on our investment. that's what i always fought for was for the ameran people to get a return on our investnt for being in the united nations. we give a lot of money. we've got to get something bk for that. >> do you think it should always be an open question whether we're part of it?>> think we should continue to push the united nations to be relevant, and if they're not ge
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relevant, i don't think we always need to be a part of it. >> i like to shift gears. while you were governor, a white supremacist killed nine south carolinians in the mother emuel church in charleston, south carolina. it was really how you navigatedm the afh of that event that caught the attention of theountry, as well, because the issue of the confederate flag had been one that had been debated for a long time in south carolina, but nobody had been able to remove it entirely until you were governor, and you were able to successfully bring together people from all sides of that debatein rder to reach a conclusion that everybody agreed upon. in a recent interview, that debate was rehashed. and you have recently written an op-ed in "the washington post" about what you said in that interview. help maybe clarify and answer this question about how the killer hijacked the flag
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from people whsaw it as service andacrifice. >> wl, i think it's interesting, and it shows the times that i've literally said t the sangs for all the years since. but now in the outrage of media and the sensitivity of political correctness, suenly everybody has a problem with what i'm ying. what i said was, the reason th was so hard was, we needed a 2/ vote to bring ag down. i saw an opportunity to make something right. from from the veryning,'ve said never should have been there t the first place, but because it wre, i saw the opportunity that maybe we could have a conversation about bringing it down. t in order to bring a compromise, you have to be able to respect the vis of your people. there were two different sets of people. one seof people saw the confederate flag as pain andry racism and sla
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the other set of peoplera saw it not asm but as heritage and sacrifice and service. if i had gone and condemned those people that saw it wnat way, that flag never would have come instead i had to acknowledge the thoughts of both and say, "but now it's time for our state to move forward." and through those acti called for the confederate flag to come down, and itame down. and, you know, if you go around vilifying ople for their views, they're not gonna listen to you, much less work with you. i needed to let them know, "i understand that that's how you feel." tot how i feel, but i unde that's how they felt. and we had to find a way for them to feel like they were part of this decision for the betterment of south carolina. >> my question, i think, is to the heritage-not-hate crowd. you know, there's a certain timing of, in the early '60s, when confederate symbols
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began to reemerge throughout the south -- after e brown v. boardf education decision, before the civil rights act -- when the south was, frankly -- or, elements of the south were, frankly, trying to resist the federal government forcing racial equaly upon them. you know, as a woman of color who grew up in the termath of that, how do you square that with the heritageot-hate messaging? >> well, i mean, i think it was hard. i mean, in south carolina, it s very tough because thi issue had been debated for decades. and so when you have them -- that this was their heritage, and they thought that -- >> even ough that heritage was resurrecteexplicitly around a time of resisting racial integration. >> oh, absolutely it was, which is why the confederate flagne r should've been there in the first place. and so having that conversation heritage but you can do it in a museum and not out in front of
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the statehouse," but more than that, what i tried to communicate to the people ofh sorolina is, no one should drive past that statehouse andn. feel p and if someone, if a child looks up at th flag and feels pain, we're doing something wrong. and that was the goal. that was, at the end of the day, was to make sure that the pain i felt growing up a brown girl in a black-and-white world shouldn't be the same pain of a child growing up today looking at that statehouse. >> gonna ask about the future of the republican party. you talk aboutour son from time to time, and i think about the millennial generation and how they think about politics. where the republican party isa now is not iace where it's speaking to the generation of your son. the values, the sensibilities. what is it going to take to motivate and capture
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the imagination of your son's genetion to the ideas that you espouse as a republica >> well, i think that -- first of all i think the next generation, i have so much hope for, because i go around and talk to high school and coege kids. they know the power of their voice.nn they're use it. we have to make sure we get the right information in front of them sthat they ha the facts to do that. but i think the republican party should always want to ge better, and i think, in order for the republican party get strong now, they have to go places that are uncomfortable to go.al they have toto people they've never talked to before. you know, i know that when i go to the indian-american communities or the jewish communities, in so many ways, theyspouse republican values and they believe in republican values. but because we've never shown up to them, because we've never gone and listened to them, there's less likelihood that they ce and join our party, and i think we need to start communicating differently. we need to really put ourselves
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out there and explain w why we beliet we believe. but more importantly, before we say that, we need to listen to what they care about and then put our values with what they care ab and i see that in the younger generation that we do have this group of strong, but we have to lift them up so that they can go out and tell the rest of their friends, as well. w h all due respect, to borrow a phrase... >> yes. >> ...this doesn't feel like party is doing rig, of this what you just described. >> well, i think that it should not bebout one person. it should be about an entire group of people sayi what we care about. >> the bully pulpit of the presidency is the most important sort of spear phone that we have, and that megaphone luis not broadcasting the on that you just outlined. >> and i think we have to do that. i think that we -- if we take our voice and our wa of dng thid match it with the results of this anesident, i think that's how we bring the republarty back.
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and you may not agree wi his style, and i tell people that althe time. his style is not my style. but his results are my results. those are the things we want. we want more people to have jobs. we want to see the economy continue to grow. we want to have a strong standing in the world as we move forward. we want to take on the next problems of the next generation and handle it with strength and with dignity and with grace. and so tre is a way to come out of this where we can continue to have our values but change the style and communication in the way we do that. "with all durespect," intended to be a message to young women? >> i think it became a message to young women, and what i hope it reminds young men and women , no ones going to protect your integrity but yourself.wh an something happens that even tries to undermine it, u have to speak up. you have to fight for yourself. because if you don't fight for urself, no one else will >> nikki haley, thank you for coming to "firing line." m
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>> thanks h. >> "firing linear with mgaret hoover" is made possible by... additional funding is provided by... corporate funding is provided by... >> you're watching pbs. this program was made cssible
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