tv Amanpour Company PBS December 26, 2018 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
>> hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & co." during the christmas holidays, we're dipping into the archives and looking back at some of this year's highlights. here's what's coming up. the torrent of accusations against the catholic church just keeps coming. now, for the first time, pope francis summons the world's bishops to meet on sexual abuse. and i speak with one of america's most powerful catholic leaders, cardinal timothy dolan of new york. then, as hurricane florence bears down on the carolina coast, puerto rico is still on its knees from last year's devastating storm. super chef josé andrés made it his mission to save lives there, serving puerto ricans an astonishing 3 million meals in two months. also, from the nfl to mit -- our
walter isaacson talks to rising star john urschel. he walked away from a lucrative football career to pursue a doctorate in mathematics. football career to pursue a doctorate in mathematics. ♪ >> uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & co." when bea tollman founded a collection of boutique hotels, she had bigger dreams, and those dreams were on the water -- a river, specifically -- multiple rivers that would one day be home to uniworld river cruises and their floating boutique hotels. today, that dream sets sail in europe, asia, india, egypt, and more. bookings available through your travel agent. for more information, visit uniworld.com. >> additional support has been provided by...
and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in new york. pope francis brought great hope to catholics everywhere, shining a bright light on global crises like poverty, climate, inequality, and mass migration. but the sins that lurk in the shadows of the catholic church seem to be threatening his very own papacy. in germany today, details from a new investigation show more than 3,700 sexual-abuse cases. last month, a pennsylvania grand-jury report implicated hundreds of priests in the abuse of more than a thousand known victims. and we've seen the same allegations and patterns of abuse and cover-up in chile, australia, ireland, the netherlands, the philippines, and more. in the face of these staggering statistics, we need to be mindful of what it actually
means to be a survivor of sexual abuse in the catholic church. here is the testimony of three survivors, as documented by pennsylvania's attorney general. >> has -- has absolutely destroyed me. >> my children suffered, my wife suffered. >> my dad found out. but he went crazy. [ sobs ] >> i was very unaffectionate. i couldn't show any affection with my wife. >> i had no desire to have children -- none -- because of this. >> heart-rending testimony. and the pope has summoned bishops from around the world to meet on this sexual abuse -- an unprecedented step from the vatican. but almost the torrent of -- but amidst the torrent of fresh allegations, pope francis' own popularity is plummeting right here in america. a cnn poll this week shows his overall ratings down from 66%
last year to 48% now. and among american catholics, it's dropped from 83% to 63%. cardinal timothy dolan is archbishop of new york and arguably the most powerful and most recognizable roman catholic leader here in the united states. and he's joining me now for an exclusive conversation at this really important time. cardinal dolan, thank you for being with me. >> christiane, i'm the one who's grateful. congratulations on the new program. i've been thrilled to be with you in the past. it's a particular joy this week. >> i hope it is because we really need answers from you. >> thanks. i hope i can give some. >> it is incredibly important to have somebody of your stature here to deal with these allegations. and, first, i want to ask you, i saw you listening to that testimony. you looked pretty broken up yourself. >> mm-hmm. >> what do you think when you hear these now-elderly people who have absorbed all this pain for so long, with impunity, in your church. >> thanks for asking. and you know what? i hate to say this, it's not new to me. i've had to listen to people
face-to-face. and if you don't think that's wrenching, i tell you, it's awful. you know, people -- i've been -- this summer has been anything but a church picnic for us. i mean, it's been a disaster, one crisis after another. and as i try my best to listen to people, i hear them express very eloquently frustration, bewilderment, anger, confusion. you name it, they got it. and you just asked me my sentiments. i say to them, "thanks for telling me. nice to meet you. i'm feeling the same way." because i get angry, as well, that priests could do this, that brother bishops would be so negligent in not responding properly, that our people are suffering, and most of all -- most of all -- that these victims are. and they -- think of what this summer has been for them. even those that may have come forward decades ago, like many of them did, maybe things have just begun to heal, and now they're hearing all this again -- the mccarrick affair, the pennsylvania grand jury. nauseating report.
now all the tension with the vigano letter. you outlined some of that. >> well, let's talk about all of those. >> ireland, chile, australia. you name it, it seems to be epidemic. >> well, it does. and i don't -- you know, i really want to know how you and the church leaders are going to get over it, because you saw the effect on the popularity of your church and the pope himself right here in the united states. even, i read, your own mother, who is nearly 90 years old -- >> oh, you don't think that did me in... >> well, right. >> ...when my own mom says, "tim, i'm not going --" she's in assisted living. she says, "tim, i'm not going up for lunch. i'm kind of embarrassed to be a catholic. they all know i got a son, a priest, and they know i'm a catholic and we all get along." but she said, "i'm not going up." boy, when your own mom is saying that. >> well, precisely. i'm glad to hear you say that. but let us play then -- because you referenced quite frequently this summer. this has been a terrible, terrible summer... >> yes. >> ...for the catholic church here in the united states. the pennsylvania grand jury and attorney general came out with this report -- more than, you know, hundreds of people -- hundreds of priests abusing
at least 1,000 known children. >> that's right. >> let us play a clip from august 14th, when the attorney general addressed this issue. >> one boy was forced to stand on a bed in a rectory, strip naked, and pose as christ on the cross for the priests. they took photos of their victim, adding them to a collection of child pornography which they produced and shared on church grounds. church officials routinely and purposefully described the abuse as horseplay and wrestling and inappropriate contact. it was none of those things. it was child sexual abuse, including rape, committed by grown men, priests, against children. above all else, they protected their institution at all costs.
>> so, those are serious allegations from an attorney general, that the church protected its institution over its own people. and i want to know what you think about this decades-long state of impunity that has been abroad in the church. now we're seeing major church leaders having to resign. you've got cardinal mccarrick, you've got cardinal wuerl, who is potentially going to be resigning. first and foremost, do you agree with that? cardinal wuerl is accused of basically having known about the abuse, will meet the pope to offer his resignation. should he be resigning? >> well, i got to be personal. he's a good friend, and he's a tremendous leader among the bishops. i kind of hope he doesn't resign... >> really? >> ...because we need him. we need him for reform, because he's been a great source of reform in the past, even not taking away the fact that you just said. i trust him enough that if he thinks he needs to resign for the good of the church, he will. and i would respect that
decision and support him. >> cardinal, you say it more in sorrow than in anger. but are you not angry that cardinal wuerl kept all this under lock and key in his mind? >> well, if i read it right, he had a very good record of being aggressive against abuse. this was a case -- >> he's alleged to have known about this abuse. >> this one case, right. i'm afraid he may be being judged on pre-dallas standards. but i don't want to argue with you. the fact does remain that even after the reforms of dallas, in 2002, apparently this priest remained. he's apologized for that. that does make me angry. that is a cause for anger. >> and even, as i said, a report from germany out today, you know, nearly 3,000 abuse cases. 2014, these are not historic. these came out soon. just another report today from another american diocese -- >> yes, wheeling, west virginia. >> that in west virginia, yes. >> yeah. >> i mean, it carries on. >> yeah. >> so, the question here now --
you've seen the attorney general of pennsylvania came out with that report -- now the attorney general of new york, barbara underwood, is also -- >> right. >> you obviously know, because she's calling in all the eight diocese, isn't she, in the state of new york? >> right. >> what do you expect to be asked, and how will you cooperate with a state investigation of this level? >> well, we have to cooperate, whether we like it or not. i think we kind of like it now. we were -- we told her, "thanks. come on in. we need this." the disaster of this is such an oil spill, that you've mentioned, beginning with the victims and their families. a big part of the disaster, christiane, is that our people tell us that it's hard to believe us. it's hard that our trust has been terrible damaged. and they say -- >> you, the leaders? >> yeah. now, you don't think that sends a chill up and down? >> it sure does. >> i'm not worried about my own popularity. but if i don't have the trust of my people, i am nothing. all right, the church is all based on trust, it's not based on coercion. so that bothers me.
one of the ways we might be able to get it back -- and our people say this -- ask some outside experts to help. there they are, the a.g. so, we bishops in new york, we wrote and said, "come on in. how can we help? anything you want, go ahead." now, one thing, christiane, we've got pretty good tradition -- a very good tradition, by the way -- of cooperating. since 2002 -- i keep bringing that date up because that's when the bishops, i'd like to propose, "began to get their act together" and did some very good things -- we have been cooperating with the -- with the district's attorney. there's 10 of them here in the archdiocese of new york. so, we got a pretty good track record of working with them, providing any document that they want. you do know, anytime we get an accusation -- i had to learn this the hard way -- but since 2002, the second person that knows it, after us, is the d.a. we say, "here. this is for you. we can't judge it. we can't decide if it's credible or not. turn it over." >> and yet you feel quite sorry that cardinal wuerl, a friend
of yours, may offer his resignation, in delayed honor, perhaps falling on his sword. you seem sorry about that. >> i'm sorry from -- that we'll be missing some of his good leadership, yes. >> but not some of his bad leadership? >> am i sorry that he's owned up and expressed apology, and do i share a sense of shame over that? you bet. yeah. >> many people -- of course, the cardinal archbishop vigano letter -- >> vigano. >> vigano letter that came out over the summer was a shock to many, many people. here we have nearly a dozen american bishops who have called vigano's letter about the pope -- he alleged that the pope was aware of sexual abuse by cardinal mccarrick, who has, as we said, resigned, as early as 2013. and about a dozen american archbishops say that this is credible. he was the nuncio. he worked in the u.s. vatican embassy. you, at one point, did, as well. not at the same time. >> '87 to '92. >> exactly, but you know sort of the information that comes through there and what access he might have had to information.
do you think -- do you believe -- that pope francis is part of a cover-up, as is being alleged? >> no, no, but i do think we need to take archbishop vigano's allegations seriously. >> but that is his allegation. >> and i trust the holy father will take it seriously. and he'll answer it and he'll have evidence to say, "here's what happened." >> so, you don't believe that he knew it? >> i trust him very much. >> the pope, you're talking about? >> i trust the pope very much. i think he's going to say, "we feed to get to the bottom of this. let's look into it. let' not be rash and impetuous in answering. but i owe my people an answer to this." and i think we'll get them. i trust the pope. >> well, that's interesting. it's good to hear you say that. but i want to ask you this -- >> you're not surprised, are you? [ both chuckle ] >> i'm surprised by vigano's letter, if you want to know the honest truth. >> we all were, yeah. >> that is from the inside... >> we all were. >> ...you know, god's representative on earth. let's not forget that. and you've seen the effect. the pope's personal ratings are plummeting. this can't be good for your church. >> no. >> but let me ask you, because, you know, there are other issues
that cardinal vigano brought up. he basically has said -- let me find it -- about homosexuality and pedophilia, he blames gay priests for the child-abuse crisis. he said that in his letter. >> mm-hmm. >> he even asks for cardinals, as he put it, who belong to the "homosexual current" in the church to be outed. do you agree that there is a link between homosexuality and pedophilia and that that is the problem? >> i don't think that's the sole root of it. the sole root of it is a lack of chastity, a lack of virtue. this isn't about right or left. this isn't about gay or straight. this is about right and wrong. we're just talking about decent human upright behavior. you don't abuse a minor. you don't do that. that's just -- i don't care if you have no faith, you know that that is vicious, that's diabolical. you don't do it. it's about right and wrong. i don't think it's about gay and straight. i don't think it's about liberal or conservative. i don't think it's about vigano
or pope francis. it's about right and wrong, christiane. and until we get back to that virtue and fidelity, we've had it -- the whole world, not just the church. but, darn it, we should be setting the example. >> so, you're disinclined to believe that causality? >> i would be disagreed with some conspiracy theories, that there's like one cause of all this. >> what about celibacy? you just talked about chastity. >> sure. >> that, for the catholic church, means celibacy on the part of all the male leaders and priests in the catholic church. now, it's part of the catholic doctrine. but comprehensive studies have found that mandatory celibacy and the culture of secrecy do add to this epidemic of child sexual abuse in the catholic church. and in fact, in 2017, there was a very serious report that looked at this, that took the issue of chastity or celibacy. and it was fine. there was 26 royal commissions and other inquiries from australia, ireland, the u.k., canada, the netherlands, all since 1985. and they confirmed that the current system isn't working,
of which, celibacy is a central plank of men and women -- chastity -- in the catholic church. >> sure. >> do you think this needs to change now? >> no. i mean, i don't mind looking at it. >> but in the weight of all of this evidence, of abuse and evidence of inquiries that say, "sorry, this doesn't work anymore"? >> if it needs to change, it shouldn't be just because of that reason. there could be other good reasons to talk about a change. and i'm at peace with talking about those. to jump to the conclusion here, i don't know. by the way, you don't mind if i clarify something that you said? >> go ahead. >> celibacy of priests is not a doctrine of the church. "doctrine" means something from god. this is a human tradition, pretty long, but could change. you were right, it could change because it's not part of church doctrine, it's part of church discipline. so you're right, it could change. secondly, everybody's chastity means you follow god's teaching
on sexuality, which is, you know, according to the bible, is that sexual love and intimacy is only between a man and woman in lifelong, life-giving faithful marriage. and then, you're right, because we take a promise not to marry, it means we give up sexual expression. now, i'm not familiar, christiane, with the -- i told them not to put this thing in, because it keeps falling out. >> sorry about that. >> you let me know if -- >> i'll let you know if you need it in, so just leave it. >> no, but let me -- i didn't mean to get off the topic. >> no worries. >> where were we? oh, here's the deal. if you look at the studies, where does most abuse of minors occur? >> in secret. >> in families, by foster fathers. they're not celibate, okay? so, to automatically jump to the conclusion that sexual abuse is due to celibacy, you're saying, "whoa, wait a minute. the studies show that most abusers are married men." so, i don't know -- i'm just afraid that it might be kind of
a logic -- it might not be too rational to impetuously jump to the conclusion. however, i would say, you got a point. do we need to thoughtfully and prayerfully think about things? yes. >> that's good. >> but i wouldn't jump to the conclusion that because of this crisis, we ought to call into serious question and rush into a judgment about a cherished practice of the church that's been with us in the beginning. >> except that it is already being, let's say, challenged, but peacefully, by the catholic church in its need for priests, inviting in, sometimes married, anglican priests and their families. >> true. >> so there is marriage. in any event, i understand. i don't want to get too stuck on this, but i understand that you suggest that it is discipline, it's not doctrine... >> right. >> ...and there is room for human improvement, potentially, in this situation. now, let me ask you this, because i said in the introduction that an unprecedented meeting of catholic leaders around the world has been called by the pope for february to precisely discuss this issue. this has been going on, drip,
drip, drip, drip, drip, a thousand cuts -- this death has been going on to your church, since at least 2002-ish, when it all came out. >> that's kind of when it surfaced the first. >> exactly. >> i mean, like, in a cascade. >> exactly. >> thanks to boston. >> exactly. and what a service they did, frankly, for everybody. what can, at this late stage -- i mean, all of this evidence is there. what can the pope, along with you all, do to finally correct this? in any other organization, people would be fired, heads would roll. look at our organization. look at he me too movement. bodies are floating down the river. >> but one can say that's rather recent. >> it is. >> right? that's rather recent. >> but look how quickly we reacted to it. in one year. >> in 2002, when we had zero tolerance, that was pretty -- and here's the other thing we have to say -- you're a fair woman -- you're going to agree -- it's not just a problem for the catholic church. it's a problem for every religion, every institution, every society, every
organization. you want to go to penn state, you want to go to the boy scouts, you want to go to other faiths. we, though, it's doubly tragic, because we should be setting a good example. so, what's the pope -- >> well, i agree with you, it is everywhere, and that's what needs to be shown. >> it's everywhere. it is all through society and culture. >> but you are a major leader in the catholic church. >> thank you. >> and this is about faith... >> yes. >> ...this is about god, this is about you're meant to be holier than that. >> i can't dismiss it by saying, "well, everybody's got the problem. why are you picking on us?" darn it, it's our problem, too, as well as everybody else's, and we got to... but, see, the pope is -- he is saying, "all right, people are saying we can't -- we're not doing enough." and then, when he does something, they'll say, "aw, it's too little, too late. it's a big p.r. stunt." >> what do you think he should do in february? >> he wants to front-burner this issue. now, when you call bishops from around the world together, christiane -- you've covered some of these meetings -- you're talking about huge pastoral priorities. the pope is saying, "i don't want to talk about -- i'm not going it talk about holy communion.
i'm not going to talk about vocation of the priesthood. i want to talk about sexual abuse of minors. i want to front-burner this issue, and i want to let people know, because they're urging it, that we're trying our best to take it seriously," and i'm glad he's doing it. >> okay, so, you know, there is a vatican file on mccarrick. archbishop vigano says that this does exist in the vatican. would you support the vatican releasing it? >> oh, i think they're going to have to be extraordinarily up-front about documents and interviews. >> and then, i just want you to put your situation to rest, because when i talked to you, back in -- i can't remember -- '12 or '13. >> '13. it was at the conclave. >> indeed, when the pope was elected, you lost your bet. >> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> yes, you did. we talked about that. you actually told me that you would try to get me an interview with the pope. anyway, down the line. maybe at the meeting in february. but when you were archbishop of milwaukee, you obtained permission from the vatican to move almost $57 million into a trust to shield church assets from sexual-abuse victims seeking compensation. do you regret that? >> no.
first of all, it wasn't at my initiative. my finance council -- all laypeople, right? -- everybody is saying, "hey, we got to listen to -- " >> i'll let you -- >> they said, "hey, archbishop dolan, we're looking at the accounting here. state law says cemetery money cannot be part of archdiocesan money. it has to be segregated, by state law. you better do it." i did it. they say i did it to protect the funds. by the way, a judge agreed and said, "dolan did the right thing in obeying state law and moving it". so i'm glad i did. i may have been in trouble had i not. >> but it does go to the sort of -- >> people jump to the conclusion that we're only doing it... >> covering it up, leaving it down. >> ...to protect the institution, and there is a lot of that. i think the attorney general in pennsylvania was, sadly, accurate in that. we can't do that. we're not about an institution, we're about people. we're about victims, we're about souls, we're about human dignity, not an institution.
>> so, obviously, you have other things this you're dealing with. it's not just this. you have immigration, you have climate, you have poverty -- >> oh, thanks for getting off the topic. >> you have all of that kind of issue. it's not off the topic, because what it actually does, i want to know, whether all of this crisis impedes you somewhat. >> christiane, thank you. i was talking to anna ahead of time, and i said, "you know what one of the big heartaches of this, yeah, listening to the victims again, seeing their suffering, seeing my people crying and saying, "why are we going through this again?" the other thing is it does is distracts us from doing what we should be doing. you mentioned some of them. the church is, i hope, prophetic witness to the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of human life. we're distracted because 10 hours a day -- usually, you would have me on to talk about that. now, rightly, you're asking me about the other thing, and it's sort of frustrating because you're thinking, "why can't --" and my people are saying, "why can't we get this behind us so we can get to the work of the
church?" >> well, it's in the church's hands. >> yes. >> i humbly say, it's in the church's hands -- zero-tolerance policy and action on it. let me ask you, because we have this dreadful hurricane barreling down, one of the pope's major, you know, reach-outs to the world was his encyclical on climate care. >> yeah, yeah. >> and yet we have -- you know, we have an administration right now in the united states who's full of, let's say, skeptics, if we don't say outright deniers, who are busy rolling back all sorts of measures. >> yeah. >> ...to keep our air, our water safe for us. where do you come down on that? is it a christian, catholic thing to lobby on behalf of saving our environment? >> yeah. i'd say it's even wider. i'd say it's a biblical thing. so, our jewish neighbors join us in that. it's a biblical revelation that creation is good. "god looked out on what he saw, and he saw that it was good." to protect the integrity, the coherence that he has put into
nature is biblically mandated. and the holy father has reminded us of that in an extraordinarily, i think, eloquent way. and, yeah, when there's threats to that, we stand up and say, "whoa, i don't know if that's the best way to go." and it's not just because i'm catholic. i'd like to think it's because we're sensitive, thoughtful human beings who don't want to see our planet and our environment tampered with. >> mm-hmm, and on other big issue, of course, which is about human beings, and that is immigration, migration, families being separated at the border. i imagine, for you all, that must have been absolutely heartbreaking. so many of the children were kind of bused, under the cover of night, here to new york. >> and a lot -- yes, and some of us with catholic charities, we're here to greet these poor, sobbing, lost kids. >> but let me play for you attorney general jeff sessions, who actually cited the bible to justify this policy. >> i would cite you to the apostle paul and his clear and
wise command, in romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because god has ordained the government for his purposes. >> yikes. cardinal? >> [ chuckles ] well, if the attorney general is good to quote saint paul, i would quote saint paul as saying, "god's law before man's law." and if man's law is contradicted -- in contradiction to god's law, it's god's law that trumps, no pun intended. all right? [ chuckles ] >> so, it was inhumane? >> that -- i think that policy is inhumane. there are things that the trump administration, attorney general sessions are doing that i'd say, "bravo." there are things that i'd say, "i wish you wouldn't do that." >> like? >> like their sensitivity to the persecution of christians. bravo. like their sensitivity and solicitude for our schools, like their efforts to protect the life of the baby in the womb. these, i'd say, "keep up the good work." but i'm also going to speak up when it comes to immigration, when it comes to the environment. i'm going to say, "whoa.
be careful about that." we're kind of equal-opportunity complainers. look at -- and we do that with every president. look at president obama. we worked with him on many things, we opposed him on some things. >> on affordable care. >> we're going to do the same with president trump. >> and finally, i mean, i do have to come back to this, because as you're trying to deal with all these revelations, there are more than 9,000 catholic-run orphanages in the developing world. are you afraid that that might be the next, sort of, crucible for all sorts of dreadful allegations of abuse? >> well, i hope not. but i think -- i don't think it's going to keep coming out. in some ways, that's not bad. what happened is nauseating and diabolical. as we get to know about it, that could be a cause for healing, because i think it was kept quiet for too long. you refer to the german bishops who asked those universities. we did that, remember? you reported it well, when we asked john jay -- this had to be 12 years or so ago -- "would you
do a scholarly study of the causes and context of the abuse of minors by priests?" they did a stunning three-volume work that doesn't get enough attention. that's our attempt to say, "let's try to find out what the problem is. how does this happen, and why can't we seem to..." we want to be leaders now in facing this societal scourge and in healing it, instead of ourselves part of the problem, like we have been in the past. >> well, that's a good point to end on. >> i hope so, christiane. >> cardinal dolan, thank you very much. >> thanks. will you invite me back? >> yes, i will. >> you're on. >> this is going to continue, and i'd like to... >> i'm afraid it is, yes. >> ...get your running commentary about it. >> thanks. >> it's so important to so many millions. >> thanks for asking. >> more than a billion people worldwide. yes, it is. thank you, cardinal. as hurricane florence, as we mentioned, surges towards the carolinas, president trump chose to revisit hurricane maria, last year's devastating storm. he did it on twitter earlier today saying, "3,000 people did
not die in the two hurricanes that hit puerto rico. when i left the island, after the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths." he then claimed that any reports to the contrary were, "done by democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible." now, the super chef, josé andrés, saw the devastation in puerto rico firsthand. he made his way there just four days after the storm hit. he went to feed the island's hungry residents. he reacted to the president's tweets earlier this morning. >> he should be ashamed. probably it was more than 3,000 people. but, actually, his tweet only shows you his lack of empathy. but it actually is true that, week after week, people kept dying, because injuries, because lack of food, lack of water, you name it. actually, that proves how little support the federal government gave puerto rico.
>> andrés came through for puerto rico last year, even as president trump's administration fell short. reopening, he did the island's kitchens and schools, churches, restaurants, and sports stadium, cooking 3 million meals within those first brutal two months. he's written about his extraordinary feat in his new book "we fed an island." when i spoke with josé andrés just yesterday, he told me the politics have to stop so that people can get the help that they still very much need. josé andrés, welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> it is good that we have you right at the moment of this hurricane, because you have so much real-world experience. first and foremost, do you think, compared to puerto rico last year, that preparations are being better made for florence bearing down on the carolinas? >> well, for what i see through twitter, through the messages of the governors, fema, i see we have a good game. i think the lessons from last
year, i think, we're seeing the learning curve. and at least, i see that the intentions are there. even president trump said that the federal government is going to be putting its full weight behind it, and they're not going to spare any money. this is very different from what happened a year ago, that at one moment, even president trump was saying, "puerto rico is costing us a fortune. people, the federal government is going to go broke." everything has changed. now everybody seems he's ready to make sure that this hurricane will be taken care of. >> so, let me just refer back to hurricane maria and puerto rico and president trump, because just this week, he actually said that fema and his administration had really done a good job in puerto rico. let's just listen to him from the oval office. >> the job that fema and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the governor in puerto rico, i think, was tremendous. i think that puerto rico was an
incredible unsung success. >> well, i don't know how that resonates with you, because we know that you went there practically immediately to bring food. we also know that the death toll has been raised just in the last couple of weeks. they thought only 64 people died in hurricane maria in puerto rico, but actually, it's 2,975 people -- 46 times more than the original estimates. do you think it was an unsung success? >> i think that everybody is trying to always make it political, and in the case of president trump, is, "we did a good job and they did a bad job." i think republicans and democrats together, they need to stop making it about politics. it needs to be a very simple thing, about people. >> just explain to me, what was the thought process that went through you that got you to get up from here, go over there in the midst of this incredible hurricane?
>> i told my wife, "i'm going to go for five, six days. i'll come back on the weekend." i very quickly saw there was not true leadership, specifically, in an area i know something -- feeding people. so i call my wife and i tell her, "i don't know when i'm coming back." and i began with a group of chefs, feeding people. we went from 1,000 meals a day to 250,000 meals a day, from one kitchen to 26 kitchens. what we did was, in an area that i thought was not true leadership, we kind of took over. we did our little part. we saw that the system was broke. everybody was talking about, "let's all do this." but i kept asking, "who is in charge?" "everybody." when everybody starts telling you, "everybody is in charge," that means nobody is in charge. we need to start asking our leaders to really know who is responsible. if you don't have people that take full responsibility, we will always leave people in the
middle of a hurricane and emergency totally forgotten. >> so i want to play this bit where you were really happy and really sort of triumphant because you had reached the million-meal mark. let's just play it. >> hello, people of america, people of the world. today, big news -- 21 days in this beautiful island of puerto rico, and i can tell you, world central kitchen, chefs for puerto rico initiative, we are about to reach today, one million meals cooked by the men and women of puerto rico. big day. i love you all. [ cheers and applause ] >> so, look, it's great to see that, a year or more later, and you then went to three million meals. but let's just take it down. we saw these massive big paella dishes, i think it was, and all these people you had recruited to this cooking army. while the authorities were basically giving meals ready to eat, mre, military meals,
plastic-, saran-wrapped things, and you were giving hot, fresh-cooked meals to people. but how did you do it? there were hundreds of thousands, millions of people who need it. what was the process? >> well, the process is, every time we got a phone call, we responded. every single hospital, nurses, and doctors had no food. so we began taking care of many of the hospitals. every time we established contact, we never left them alone. we will keep going to the same places for days, for weeks, for months. but that day, i was happy. but until that day, i cry a lot because i felt that the bakeries were in the island. they only need some help to reopen so we could have bread to make sandwiches. we helped bakeries to reopen so we had bread to make sandwiches. the food was in the island. kitchens were in the island. the people were ready to help. sometimes, because the way this system works, everything is about contracts and bidding. why are you going through a bidding process that takes
weeks, about food, when people are hungry today? >> this is a real paradigm shift. do you think what you did can be the template for other emergency reactions? >> totally. we've been in the fires in california. we went to hawaii after the volcano. we went to guatemala, more than 400,000 meals. we took care of the 28 shelters around antigua and escuintla. we fed everybody very much in... right now we're in indonesia in front of bali, in a little island nobody is feeding. so, yes, but, again, we're not doing nothing special. the only thing we're doing is, we have a plan, we have a map, we know where our kitchens are, we know where the hungry is, we know where the bakeries are. and the only thing we do is we make it happen. but i want to thank the people of the military. national guard were helping us, but they were not helping us from above. they were helping us because they were seeing what we were doing. they were giving us sometimes
humvees to cross rivers with no bridges. >> humvees, really? >> yep. at times, we got their help. we got people of the navy in vieques. they were coming, in their time off, to volunteer in our kitchens in vieques. >> that's another remarkable story, because it is, again, the intersection of the private with the national or the public or whatever you want to call it. the private and the military, in this case, and all these resources coming to play. i mean, we were all somewhat shocked because, i mean, you said and many people at the time said, for instance, that fema headquarters, puerto rico, was the most inefficient place on earth, leaving the people of puerto rico hungry and thirsty. and the fact that president trump didn't come for 13 days. and also you tweeted, "thank you for throwing paper towels to our fellow americans in puerto rico. please, next time, before napkins, remember to feed the people first." >> i want to make sure that we understand that actually, i do believe we have great leaders within fema.
and i need to understand that sometimes the systems, the laws, the protocols, that they're being created before, handcuff those men from making right decisions. sometimes i think the federal government has to change totally all their rules of engagement to give more freedom to the people that know how to fix the problem. but sometimes they need to follow so many rules that they are handcuffed. what happened with us? we didn't have to follow any rules. >> can i just broaden this up, because you have a particular expertise, on many levels, is relevant to us right now. for instance, food waste. food waste in the united states is a huge thing. the u.n. says that roughly a third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted. that's nearly 1.3 billion tons. you know, what are your thoughts, given the number of people who don't have enough to eat, given how much we have, and how much just goes to waste?
how can we address this problem? >> i get very involved, myself, in food waste, but, again, i'm not expert on anything. what i'm an expert is in knowing that sometimes we talk the big talk, and then we don't put real actions into the talk. in spain, we had moments that oranges on the trees were too expensive to hire farmers to pick them up. but across the mediterranean, right in the north of africa, we had people that had a tragedy of no food and they were hungry. you see, we let the oranges go rotten in the european side, and then we have people on the other side of the mediterranean going hungry. then they want to be getting on boats to cross into europe, but then europe doesn't want those guys. you see the paradigm? sometimes the solution is when somebody will come and say, "if we pick up these oranges and these fruits and these vegetables, and we are able to ship them to the refugee camps or to the cities and the people that are in need of a plate of food, tight there, we feed the
hungry. right there, maybe we solve the problem of immigration all at once. the possibilities are there, but we're gonna be in need of a bolder leadership in america, europe, all around the world. we need bold leaders that they stop talking and start doing. >> you write about a lot of all of this in your book. as i mentioned in the beginning, your book is "we fed an island." and you know, it's the imprint that was formed by our colleague and our friend anthony bourdain, and he -- this imprint -- published this book. he took his life, and so many people feel that loss, really, to this day, and they will for a long time for everything he brought. what did he mean to you? what does his loss mean to you and to the world, not just of food, but of knowledge? >> we spent -- i spent a lot of time with him. my friend eric ripert, one of the best men and chefs in new york, in the world. >> who was on his last trip.
>> he was on his last trip. i was with him only a few months ago, filming a show in the region i was born. and very much, it was in every segment of the show, i was not filming a show, i was showing my friend my homeland where i began. tony was a man that gave voice to the voiceless. he's a man that gave opportunity to those that had no way to telling their story. and somehow he was able to break walls where now some people want to build walls. he was able to bring all of us closer and to show that people that think different than us or different religion or different color of skin, or accent, that we should not be afraid of each other, but that, actually, we need to empower each other by understanding each other. that's what tony did. and it took me only one simple message, saying, "man, this is happening. somebody should be telling this story." i'm like, "what are you waiting for?" he said, "thanks. what are you waiting for?"
so i got my good friend richard wolffe, that is my best friend besides he's a great writer. he jumped on a plane and he came to help me. but in the process, we didn't realize that really he was taking notes of what a group of chefs, men and women, with a very simple idea began feeding not an entire island. i wish we did more, but, you know, we did our little part. >> 3 million meals. it's not too little. >> 3.7. >> 3.7 million meals. well done. josé andrés, thank you so much, indeed. >> thank you very much. >> important as this hurricane, now florence, bears down on the east coast. and so now we turn from a chef who followed his heart to feed a devastated island, to an athlete who followed his passion from the nfl to mit, as our walter isaacson speaks to john urschel. once at the heart of professional football, urschel gave it all up in 2016 to pick up a phd in mathematics
at the world-renowned massachusetts institute of technology. they discussed the surprising overlap between football and math and how protest has always had a place in american sports. >> john, welcome to the show. >> thanks for having me. >> math and football -- what an amazing combination. tell me about, growing up, how you got into both of them. let's start with your mom. >> yeah, my mother, she grew up in cincinnati, ohio. first in her family to go to college. obviously, the first -- >> she loved puzzles, right? >> she loved puzzles. she loved problem-solving. she loved math. and this is something she really sort of pushed when i was a kid and something she really sort of instilled in me, was always this sort of curiosity. >> and so she got you into math, right? and wanted you to become an engineer when you were a kid, right? >> not just any engineer. an aerospace engineer. >> it had to be aerospace, right -- rocket scientist? >> a rocket scientist. nothing else would do. >> and then you got into football by looking at a
photograph of your father? >> yeah, that's true. my father played college football at the university of alberta. and so, you know, growing up, i wanted to be like my father in many ways, and so... >> and he comes back into your life as you're growing up, and you start seeing more of him. does he push you into football? >> i think he started to push me more and more. the more he saw me play, the more he thought, "well, you know, maybe he's not so bad. maybe he's pretty good. maybe he can play college football. maybe he can play pro football." >> but he was also, i was interested to read, he liked math, as well. and he wrote an inscription for you, at one point, in a book called "qed," which is a great book, when he talked about math stripping away the dirtiness of nature, right? >> right, to show the sort of beauty -- the beauty of the world. >> i've heard you say or, you know read, that you feel that sometimes black kids don't get a break when it comes to people believing they can do things like math. do you think there's any
discrimination there? >> i think there's some truth to the fact that african-american kids in this country clearly are not getting the same opportunities, with respect to math, as their counterparts. and you know, i think there's a reasonable way to sort of think about this. if you look at, say, all t top american mathematicians and you look at sort of the sort of diversity of them, we have brilliant, brilliant young people being born into all sort of different households, from all sorts of different socioeconomic backgrounds, whose talent is being lost and who sort of is being failed by our education system. >> you're at mit. you've done work nearby at harvard. you were recruited at stanford. the math departments there, in those three universities -- and princeton you've been thinking of going to -- take those four math departments. how many african-american professors are there in them?
>> i'm going to say -- i think i'm going to say zero. >> that's correct. >> there may be one, but i don't think there is. i can always be wrong. >> yeah. >> it's a new year, but, yeah, i think it might be zero. >> as a black mathematician, are you trying to create groups of black mathematicians that support each other? or do you think that's not a good way to go? >> personally, i don't. i interact with mathematicians, and i'm not more likely to interact with another african-american mathematician than any other mathematician. but that's sort of my view, based on my upbringing, where i can say that i've been blessed to not ever feel, throughout my life, that the color of my skin or the household i grew up in has had any impact on my ability to do math. and not everyone can say that. and i think it's important that we have both types of mathematicians. mathematicians who think it's very important to bring us
together, to help sort of bring along the next generation of african-american mathematicians. and also, those of us who believe that there's something powerful in just being a mathematician and having sort of your race have nothing to do with it. >> the connection between loving mathematics and doing so well at it and loving football and doing so well, what are the common traits, in terms of persistence or working, you know, focus, being able to compartmentalize? >> i think the key thing that they have in common is that they do both reward persistence and determination and a sort of toughness and a decision that you're going to keep working at something and you're not going to give up. and this is something that i think they share in common, although they do have many differences. one is a little more dangerous than the other. and also something, you know, in a little bit more
seriousness, is that the concept of comfort with failure is quite different in the two fields. for instance, in football, failure is this unacceptable thing that needs to be fixed immediately. whereas, in fields like mathematics and different areas of science, failure is a part of the process. failure is sort of, you know, you've attempted something, it didn't work, and now you've learned something. and you know, if you're uncomfortable with failure in mathematics, you aren't going to get very far. >> you go from penn state, and you get drafted by the baltimore ravens, right? and you decide to both play for the ravens and study at mit. >> yes. i've -- >> most players haven't done that before. >> no, no, most players haven't done that. yeah, i've, uh -- yeah, it's... i've made better decisions in my life. this was one where -- >> and so you'd go to mit for one semester, and then you'd hit training camp as soon as the semester was over? >> yeah, and then i'd go back to
baltimore. and the thing that was tough was that in the fall, when i was in baltimore, i was still sort of signed up for classes at mit. so i would send in assignments via correspondence. >> mm-hmm. and about five or six years ago, you had a concussion, right, playing for the ravens? was that right? or... >> uh, perhaps three years ago. >> okay. >> three years ago. >> is that when you began to think that maybe you should move away from football and focus more on math? >> surprisingly not. surprisingly not. i mean, when this happened, you know, it was one of those things where this was quite annoying to me, because, you know, you have a concussion, you're having trouble thinking, light sensitivity, a number of things. but for some reason, that wasn't really much of a wake-up call. >> so, if that didn't do it, what caused you to begin thinking about maybe this, you know, head injury, cte, brain injuries, "maybe i should move
away from football"? >> fatherhood is an amazing thing. >> so, tell me -- by the way, you're married to my goddaughter, louisa thomas, with whom you're writing a book that will be out in may. >> yeah, we should state, we do have some affiliation. >> we have an affiliation. >> yeah. >> and joanna is your daughter. >> joanna, yes, my daughter. and, yeah, something about fatherhood really makes you start thinking about longevity in a way that, you know, i never thought about before and i never cared about before. >> did you read that "new york times" piece on cte? >> i saw it, yeah, mm-hmm. >> and what do you think the nfl should be doing about brain injury? >> i think the nfl is sort of doing exactly what they should be. i think they're -- the one thing i noticed from the nfl is, every year i was in the league, they were taking steps to make the game safer, with respect to head injuries, than the previous year. and i don't know sort of what changes that have made in college football, because i haven't been playing college
football for a while, but i hope that college football is sort of taking -- >> if you had a kid who wanted to play football, would you encourage him? >> i don't think sort of... yes, if he wanted to play football, i would support him and, yeah, of course, i would let him play football. i mean, if he had no inkling towards one sport or another, i wouldn't necessarily push him towards football. i can say, like, with certainty that if i had a son, i don't want him sort of playing pro football like i did. this is -- i mean, yes, you make a good living, but this not an easy life. >> tell me your thoughts on colin kaepernick's protests and what's happened. >> yeah, it's a divisive issue in the united states. many times in history, and even now, sort of, often sports has this amazing power to unify people, but it also has this amazing power to sort of be a microcosm for what is going on in the country. and, of course, this is
something extremely divisive, and i don't know what, um... >> do you support him? >> of course. i mean, i support people's right to protest. this is something that's amazing about our country. in fact, this is something that i love about our country, is that, as an american, you have the right to express your view if it doesn't harm anyone. if it doesn't hurt anyone, you can express your view and you can be certain that, you know, you will be safe. you can decide to stand for the anthem or decide to not. and you know, you aren't in some sort of totalitarian regime where not standing for the anthem means serious, serious harm will come to you and your family. and i think there's something amazing about a country in which we can have dialogue about these things, and that we're in a
country where we have a choice. >> if you were playing for the ravens this sunday, what would you be thinking about on the question of whether you would take a knee? >> for me personally, i've always stood for the national anthem. i support the protest a thousand percent. i understand why this protest is happening, and i completely support my sort of former nfl sort of teammates and their ability to fight for this. but me, personally, when i -- i don't know how to describe it, but i feel this amazing sort of feeling in my heart when i'm standing on the sideline and i hear sort of our national anthem, and to just stand there with my hand over my chest. and it's just something that's very sort of powerful for me. i'm very proud to be in a country where i have the choice to stand for the national anthem. >> which also makes you proud to
be in a country which allows some to take a knee. >> exactly. >> tell me now what you would be telling kids who want to go into mathematics, maybe want to go into football. what lessons have you learned from all of what you've done? >> i think the best lesson or the biggest sort of lesson i've learned is, whatever it is you're truly passionate about, whatever it is you want to do, don't sort of -- don't be afraid to really, really put in the work to try to achieve your dreams, because i believe that, in general, if you have a good goal that you're working towards, sort of being dedicated to that craft and working towards that, this is a good quality. and even if you don't achieve whatever you're working towards, good things tend to happen. >> there are very few people in this society who, in some ways, could be a healing symbol. do you see any role you can play in that, or inspiring symbol for young, black mathematicians or for football players or anybody? >> i think a healing symbol is
sort of ambitious. but i do sort of have hopes or aspirations to be an example among many of sort of the things that you can do if you set your mind to it, and to show that, you know, you can achieve things in math and science, no matter your race, gender, or socioeconomic background. >> john urschel truly is an example of what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it. and what an extraordinary mind that is. and that is it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour & co." on pbs. and join us again tomorrow night. ♪ >> uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & co." when bea tollman founded a collection of boutique hotels, she had bigger dreams,
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