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tv   Gordon Sondland The Envoy  CSPAN  February 21, 2023 3:49pm-4:53pm EST

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say this that i've made two little antiquarian bibles and they're even so little and doesn't necessarily feel like much in this world maybe. so i keep thinking surely there's something more for me but you know to stage of life i may have unfitted myself for anything else. so trust me, you will be the first to know. thank you. thank you for me. thank you for coming. thanks for being such a great audience. thankladies and gentlemen, pleae
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welcome ambassador gordon sutton. good. good evening, everyone. my name is john. hi. bush and i have the of being the executive director of the ronald reagan presidential and institute thank you for coming out this evening in honor of our men and women in uniform who protect our freedom around the world, if you would, please stand and join me for the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to republic for which it
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stands, one nation under, god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. thank you. please be seated seated. before we get started, i want to sure. we recognize a special guest that we have in our audience this evening and i know a number of you would recognize him. that would be congressman elton and his lovely wife, janice. earlier today, a freight car arrived at the reagan library. it is a made world war two model two freight car. one of the freight cars that was used to transport -- and other victims. the nazi regime, to the infamous
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concentration. it be part of an exhibit on the horrors of holocaust that will open here in march of next year. the car arrived today because is november 10th and it november 10th. that marks the anniversary of kristallnacht. tonight we welcome to our stage former united ambassador to the european gordon sondland former ambassador someone this car has a haunting significance. his parents unlike so many, were able to escape nazi germany into time. but they too could just as easily been taken away in one of these cars. instead, they were able to make
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their way to america where. they raised a family. their son would go on to a successful career in hotel business before as a united states ambassador to the continent. his parents once fled and ambassador, thank you for your service, for your assistance and the exhibit soon to come and for sharing your family's story with us today. and in your book. and we are here to talk about book, a new memoir, barely two weeks old, but already praised by the new york times and by others as a fascinating look behind the scenes of foreign and the policies of the previous administration, i'd read that
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decided to be an ambassador back in twenties. well not only did he achieve that but instead of serving as an ambassador to one country like so others, he managed to be an ambassador to collection of more than two dozen. he may have gotten more than he bargained. it's often that an ambassador becomes a household name when he walks the produce aisle through an out to dinner. people come up to him saying, whoa, it's that guy. yes many people know ambassador. someone from his time tested fine before the nationally televised impeachment hearings of donald. in 2020. but that wasn't his only front seat to history.
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after all in 19 he was he was the one introducing many leaders to a young new ukrainian president former comedian by name of older maurice alinsky during. his service. from 2018 to 2020. gordon worked to strengthen the ties between the states and the european. but as he recounts his diplomatic were often tested as much on this of the atlantic as on the side in europe today and best or someone has scores to settle. though hidden agenda and tonight we will get a rare unvarnished look at the world of international diplomacy. all of.
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you have chosen a great night to be at the reagan library. so, ladies, gentlemen, please welcome 20th united states ambassador, the european union, the founder, chairman of providence hotels and a friend of the reagan library to be sure ambassador gordon sondland. thank, mr. ambassador. welcome, gordon to the reagan library. thank you. it's really an honor. when you graduated from college, i wonder if you ever felt that as you progressed in career that you weren't just going to succeed in the world of business
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and the world of politics beyond your dreams. that was a really loaded question because i didn't graduate no, i dropped out. i did two years at the university of washington. it's funny, i probably could not get into the university of washington. they would have me collect chair, but they would never admit me as a student. i, i was very, very restless and bored with with formal education. i just wanted to go money. i grew up in a in a very lower middle class enclave within a very wealthy community and jealousy played a huge part. envy and jealousy played a huge part in. my sort of formative years. because i saw other kids at school drive a new car. they were 16. go to europe and hawaii on vacation. and my parents couldn't afford
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that. and so to me, my my my goal. financial independence. and that's what i focused on. and it wasn't the best driver, but it was the driver. yeah. what's your connection to auschwitz? you've been such a generous contribue to the library. and i know it ties to your family. obviously what is that connection? my parents were both born in germany. my dad was born in danzig, which is now part of poland gdansk. my mother was born in berlin. they met in in the early thirties. i my mother was 15 when she met my dad. my was probably around 20, 21. not an unusual pairing. they married when she was 16. she was pregnant immediately. and then had to leave.
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so my mother could get out with her family because they had a russian background and those with russian passport were allowed to leave. so they got on a boat headed for paraguay and were told when you get to paraguay, don't stay here. go to uruguay, because uruguay is a lot friendlier to -- than paraguay. so my mother and her family settled in uruguay. my mother didn't speak spanish at the time had a daughter in paraguay and when my saw her for the first time she was seven years old. my father was smuggled out of germany to france joined the french foreign legion. otherwise he would have gone to a concentration camp in germany, fought with a foreign legion in northern africa, was captured he was in a concentration for a year and was rescued by the british army. and his name was sondland. very german when he joined the
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british army. he changed it to gerald southwood just to give it a little more of a british flavor and ultimately. i mean, there's a very story, but ultimately they were reunited again when my sister turned seven in uruguay. and then eventually emigrated to the united states, where i was born. and i was absolutely mistake. my mother was 36 when she had me. she had my sister. she was 16. so were 20 years apart. and there are no other. wow. yeah. and hotel business. i know you've been in a hugely in the hotel business for several now. how did you decide to get into that business? i was in the real estate business selling little apartment buildings. and i sort of worked my way up the company i that i joined. and one day, one of the guys who worked for me brought me a hotel that was in bankruptcy. i knew nothing about hotels and
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said, you know, let me figure this out. this looks like a really cheap hotel to buy. and i with some people that were in the hotel business and i went to my boss and i said if i'm able to raise the money to buy this, can i buy it as opposed to selling it to one of our clients? and you know, like a good entrepreneur business man, he said as as our company gets the full commission, i care if you. so i was able to talk some investors into putting up some and bought that hotel. it turned out to be a success through no skill of mind because i didn't know the hotel business. i hired people who knew knew the business, and they did well by me. and that became the first of many hotels. well, there's another guy i know of that in the hotel business, donald trump. how did you first meet trump and? was it because you were both in the hotel business together or. no, it was all politic.
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it's a great story. it was in 1988 at the republican. i'm sorry, not at the republican mentioned at the acceptance speech. george h.w. bush in new orleans. and i met the marriott hotel in new. and i walked the elevator lobby and there's one person standing there and it was donald trump. he's all by himself. there was no one around. i wasn't anything. and i walked up to him and i introduced myself and he was very dismissive. and i said, i noticed in the new york times, you just bought the plaza in new york and you're really getting screwed by westin, who was running the plaza at the time, and you're going to sue them? i said, yeah, that's right. and i said, well, we bought a hotel that's also being run by westin and we're being similarly screwed. maybe we should compare notes. he blew me off completely. didn't want to talk about.
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didn't even say, well, here's my give me a call. just didn't want to it. so the next i'm sitting in the bar with john sununu and with the gentleman who brought me to the convention in the first place. very important guy in the republican party, trump talks in, looks around the room. he sees sununu, he comes over, he sits down, he looks me. he remembers me from the day before. couldn't have been nicer. and when i reminded him of that. because he asked me when i reconnected with in 2016. so i met him in 88. i never saw him until 2016. and i went to office in new york at trump tower, and i said he said, have we met before? i said, yeah. i said, we in new orleans in 1988 and you were a total --. and much to his credit he goes, i was. and i said, yes, you were. he said, well, what did i do? and i told him the story.
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and he said, well, of course was nice to you the second night because you were very important and. i said, who says that? and he said, well, are you over now? and i said, well, i'm here aren't i? good point. okay. yeah, well, right around i know at that moment, as you are now, you're headquartered in portland, portland, oregon. and i know it well. and it's as liberal a city as can get. and i was i found it fascinating in your book you talk about how when you got behind trump for president in a big way it was a very public thing and it became you were a big trump supporter right there in portland and you paid a price for that. i as well have been a neo-nazi, literally in portland that the name trump and portland are oil and water. they don't mix and people were
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threatening our business. they were threatening employees and. this is before he became president. i he was running for president. so it was a very, very difficult situation. i had a partner the time who was ceo of my company who worked for me. he was muslim, was a syrian and. when trump made his un comments about nasir, this person came my office and said, you know, that makes me very uncomfortable. and i said, say no, you're more important to me than a political campaign. i'll step. i had already raised quite a bit of money for the campaign. i you know, i called the campaign and said, i can't do anything more. i'm uncomfortable with the zircons situation. and so the campaign happy. i left and when trump was elected, the same person came back into my office and said, you know, i'm a good republican. you were trying support the
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president. i'm over this. why don't you get involved if you want to. you have no problem with me. i said, okay, why don't we go to the inauguration? so i said, let's take our families. have you ever been to a presidential inaugural? and he said, never. i said, i'm going to buy i'm going to buy the big ticket. i had made a little money that year. the big ticket was a million bucks. you the best seats you got the best parties and the best access. so i took my his family and we went to the inauguration. and of course, the conventional is that that's what bought me the ambassador ship. but there's so much more to it. yeah, yeah. you need to read the book. you'll see there's so much more. you know, you did become to the european union, but i know that you raise a lot of money for the trump campaign, as you said and inaugural you could have had your pick of a lot of different
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jobs you know deputy of commerce or assistants, secretary of the navy or whatever you might. why did you choose an ambassador as post as how you wanted to jump in. well, having been a ceo in the private sector, once you become ceo, you're kind of always the ceo. and an ambassadorship is about as close to being a ceo. you can get short of being the president himself because the ambassador is, in fact, the legal stand in for the president in whatever country or whatever organization you credited to. a lot of people don't know this, but when you're the ambassador to a country, you're the highest ranking federal official in that country. so other than military people who are engaged in combatant activity those, the military, the community, the agriculture department, the commerce
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department, everyone in that country reports to the ambassador in miniature presidents. it's a miniature presidency. that's exactly what it is. and you also have a lot of autonomy because basically, given a letter of introduction to the leader of that country or that signed by the president of the united states, and it's a very it's not a form letter. it's a very personal. and it basically says. john, hi. bush is my representative to fill in the blank country. please look upon him as my representative the united states and whatever he shall say or do on behalf united states, please give it full. so it's of like a power of attorney almost. you are the stand in president. you can sign documents and bind the united states. you can do all kinds of things. and just under the sheer weight of that authority and responsibility makes exercise it very carefully. sure yeah. as i was saying, and i
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introduced you, you know, any number of people like you would choose to be ambassador to france, ambassador of great britain. pick a particular country. but you were the ambassador to the european union. so where that ambassador hang his or her hat? is it in brussels wales? and how do you represent the united states? so many countries. it's a very interesting dance. yes. here in brussels, there are actually three ambassadors in brussels. there's the united states ambassador to nato's, which is also based in brussels. there is the united states ambassador to belgium. and then of course, there's the united states ambassador to the european union. and that's called a tri mission. there are three missions. so all ambassadors. the first problem is all three ambassadors. we all have big egos. we all think we're the boss.
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and we all have to learn to get along and dance. i was extremely fortunate because the ambassador to nato, senator, former senator kay bailey hutchison, who is absolutely terrific, and the ambassador to belgium was a friend, ambassador ron gidwitz. so the three of us worked really closely together because between the three of us, we had about close to 3000 people that we were responsive able for and a lot of assets because a lot of those three missions were coordinated together. so it's a big undertaking. we tried to each stay in our lane to our colleagues when we needed if i needed help from nato's non-nato heat, it needed help from the eu then we we consulted and coordinated. but it was it was a it was like three dimensional chess. having done it now for a couple of years. take away the in impeachment hearings and that whole
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experience just as an ambassador, it turn out to be as van tastic as you thought it might be back in your twenties when you were aspiring to be. and would you do it? i do it again in a heartbeat. and the reason i do it again in a heartbeat is it's like any job. once you have the learning curve that's gone by and you really understand whether you're doing brain surgery or you're fixing a car engine or you're an ambassador, once you understand the process, you really can hit the ground running. was it an incredible job? it was the worst and the best job. you had the highest highs and the lowest lows because you had this feeling that like driving a super tanker. the super tanker representing the united states of america. people are making all kinds of noise all the time about we should do this and we should do
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that, and so on and so forth. and everyone is giving speeches and making it thinking. they're making policy think tanks and so on. but you know what? at the end of the day, i'm not saying this to be critical, but it's just reality. they're all just making noise. the supertanker just keeps going as an ambassador, you turn that wheel. the super turns, because you actually have the ability. you're not like the little kid on the right side of the car with the play steering wheel while daddy's driving. and you're doing this, and the car just keeps going. you turn the wheel and the car turns, and once you realize that the car turns that you can pick up the phone and call someone and either make something happen or really screw something up badly by saying wrong thing, all of a sudden you realize i now have the tools to advance the policy of the united states and policy is as dictated by whoever the president is.
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it's not what the state department bureaucracy thinks it is. it's what the president thinks. and i would say that for president obama, president biden, president bush, and certainly president trump, the people who work there day in and day out and there many, many loyal, hardworking bureaucrats that understand what their job is, which to advance the agenda of whoever happens to be the president at the time. there are also many who don't do that and in fact, push back really really hard, which makes my job a lot more difficult than that of my colleagues. yeah, i want to get to that issue of deep state in just a minute, but before i do you feel you succeeded in your role? did you have measurable accomplishments that you look back on and say, i did that. i did. and and it's so gratifying that once you have one accomplishment, i guess it's like catching fish or hitting a hole in. you want to keep doing it.
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and the biggest disappointment was the impeachment hearings for ukraine. because when occurred toward the end of 2019, we had already accomplished a great deal. but we were on the cusp of accomplishing so much in so many areas. and i view it through a business lens of a deal closing. i view you know, this to me wasn't a journey where all about the journey, it was about the result. and we had six or seven or eight big initiatives were ready to close to put it in a business vernacular. all of which got derailed because. no one could focus on anything but the circus was going on in congress at the time. yeah jcpoa. iran. deal. you had the responsibility the to get us viewpoint across with respect to enough of the iran
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deal it's not for us the united states and tell me about your role in having to work the european partners who were not necessarily on that track. well it was a -- deal. there is no other way to put it. it gave iran the benefits and. none of the downside. we got all the downside. it's been characterized in many different ways. but put very simply, they get cash. they to keep they get to keep enrich uranium even though they claim they were. they get to use the cash to, create mischief and malign activity all around the world. and we get to sit back and watch the show and trump instinctively said, you know, the way change behavior is you make poorer. because when don't have money, they can't do mischievous things. it's very expensive to create
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mischief. it's not. and so he wanted to bring their output down from what it to as close to zero as possible. and of course, we had in the eu, we had a what's called an h.r. vp, which is really a secretary of state in the person of federica mogherini, who was the counterpart to mike pompeo, the secretary of state. and mogherini was one of the authors of the original jcpoa. so she was madly in love with her work and didn't want to hear any. she didn't want to see any intelligence, which i went to the ends of the earth to get her read on, to show her what the iranians doing. it's don't bother me with the fact i love this jcpoa. this is a fantastic deal. i did it and between she and john. they created this illusion which
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really was an illusion that think several in the administra tions starting with the president said this complete --. it doesn't work. and as a result we really had the iranians on the ropes again. it takes time. but of course the. always ready to make a dime said, no, no, we want to keep doing business with iran. so the way we get around the sanctions is we create this bartering system, instax and. they created this thing out of whole cloth, never existed before. and it was a way to circumvent our sanctions. so then i had the pleasant duty of going around telling various foreign leaders, listen, you can do business with iran or you can do business with the united states, but you can't do with both. so pick one. and that did go down well. but at the end of the day, had that pressure been kept applied
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all the way through, had president biden simply kept that pressure on? after president trump left office, the iranians now would be at our doorstep wanting to talk because their economy was about to crater. similar situation with nord stream two, albeit we're talking russia right in in this case, i think the united states. you were prescient with respect to what was going to happen if nord stream two was allowed to to occur. so where do we sit now with respect to ukraine and nord stream two and the rest? they've learned their lesson now. have not or have they? no i wish i wish i could say i were prescient, because that would make me look like a genius. and i'm not a genius. no one was a genius. that said, putin will use a world event to leverage his gas
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supply to and we'll turn the gas off. that was not a particular really remarkable statement to make yet we were laughed out of every meeting both by the leaders with whom we met and by the press in europe. who said, you, you guys are crazy. you're always, you know doomsayers. that's not how putin anymore. welcome to the 21st century. i mean, pick a ticker, restore. and that's what we got. and, you know, wound up giving speeches saying, look, there are other source is of liquid natural gas. and i'm not. just to make sure you understand, i'm not here trying sell us gas over russian gas to sound like a competitor to. i'm saying great, buy our gas. buy the turkish gas. buy gas from the middle east. buy it from anyone you want
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except russia. because russia has a very unique that none of the others do, which is the switch. and it's exactly what's happening now. yeah. yeah. let's talk about trump for a minute and. pull a quote from your book, which i thought was really interesting. this is your words. oh, trump. he's an extremely sharp, decisive and, divisive figure who happens have a tension and ego issues that in the way of his mostly policy positions stand by those words 100%. tell tell what kind of man is donald trump when you're you've had the ability to work closely with him? so one of the anecdotes in the which really shows you the kind of person it's such a thing.
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we are about to greet a leader who happened to be his country, happened to be the upcoming presidents of the european council. they rotate every six months and the presidency, one of the 28 countries, now 27, and they have the gavel, they make the agenda and they have a lot of parliamentary authority. so my strategy was i'm going to get close to the president or prime minister of the country is that's running european council so i can get stuff with respect to the bureaucracy in the eu because. i view the countries as the board of directors and i view the eu people as the, you know, the staff and the workers and the executives. so we are greeting this leader at the white house and the president. i are standing in the middle of the room waiting for the
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motorcade to up. and it's just the two of us and the aides surrounding the the. there's no one in the middle of the room and he's kind of shifting, waiting a little impatient, reaches in his pocket and grabs a box tic tacs and shakes the tic tacs in his hand puts in his mouth. he looks at me and i go, what the --? he goes, what? i said, aren't you going to share? and goes, oh, okay. and he reaches in his pocket, puts them in my hand. i did the same thing. i go, didn't your mother teach you to share your tic tacs and the look priceless. not on his face. he was already beyond it. but of the people that were all standing, you know, the aides, priceless. did you just say, what the -- to the president of united.
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but the point is, he doesn't think of anyone but himself. and, you know, you get out a pack of gum, you offer the gum to the person standing next to you or your mints or whatever. it's just not the way his mind works. and i know it's a stupid story, but it's it's symptomatic of how his mind works. it's always about him, and sometimes that has extraordinarily effects in a sort of twisted, perverse way, but often he completely misses the point of what he's just. it's the old saying, the salesman who won't take. yes, for an answer and just keeps talking. and all of a sudden the yes turns into a no because he didn't shut his mouth at the at the appropriate time. and that's what i found over and over over again. i know i allowed to say that word right. and they haven't kicked us out
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yet. that would be you. but the. i know you didn't work for ronald reagan. i just. but i know you. i was too. yes, but. but i know you've studied him. you know he is. he. can you compare president trump to president reagan in any sense? i don't think there's any compare. none. none? no. would they would you say they're the exact opposite? yeah, i would. i think i think reagan was a modest self person who really believed in a team and really believed in his people. i think president trump was more of a typical entrepreneur. and one of the reasons i identify with him so closely was my mind worked many ways in the same way i hoped i didn't have that amount of hubris. probably had a bunch of hubris, but hopefully not to that level.
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but it's sort of one of the symptoms of it was he was a kuz for example, he was often about transition team and. remember he appointed chris christie to head a transition team. yeah. and his whole attitude, the transition team, which is very typical of any entrepreneur and if there are entrepreneurs in the audience, understand this. you get very superstitious when you're about to close a deal and you don't want anything, jinx it. and in case closing the deal was winning, presidency was being elected, he didn't care about the polls. he didn't care about what people were telling him or how much money he raised. he knew that the closing meant he got more votes than. hillary. that was it. so by putting a transition team together prior to that happening to him was. superstitious, silly, awful because it's sort of like measuring curtains for an office that you may never get.
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sure. and what that did, though and i understand that mindset and he wasn't wrong about, you know, not being you know, not counting chickens before they're hatched. but what that did was it him from doing, for example, what mitt romney, which was a absolute was of the bellwether for how to set up a transition team. mitt romney and i was fortunate have been asked to serve on governor romney's transition. he had an entire shadow u.s. government set up ready to immediate deploy on a day so that his loyalists could be in of the critical places of power to make sure that last administration didn't what he was trying to do. president trump didn't have time
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to do that because he didn't to start early enough which, he should have done. first of all, it's the government pays for it. they give you all the resources. they give you space. they give you help, whatever need. and he should have done that, but he was too superstitious to do it when. zelinsky you were there and knew him, introduced him many united states representative, you were part of his world. you know, people really underestimated early on. here's this guy, a comedian. he becomes president. i mean, my gosh now how things turned out. you knew zelensky early i would say are you surprised that he has become the the leader that he. well he and reagan have probably in common than he and trump
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because of the show business background. and even though reagan had served as a two term governor of california, you recall people were very critical of his competence to be president because he's just an actor. does he know about running the united states? and zelensky had a lot of the same allegations made. no. the answer to your question is we thought he was smart. we thought he was tough. we really thought trump would like him because we thought that they kind of a similar personality zelensky was funny. he was he was the kind of guy trump would want to hang out with. that's why we tried so hard to get the two of them together. but could you ever know that this actor, this guy from show business would put on a flak jacket and walk out in the middle kiev while the bullets are flying and the missiles are flying? you don't know that he would do that until he did it. and, of course, it was very and
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i don't want to misquote him, but when he said, i don't need a ride, i need bullets or something to that effect we could have never predicted that. let's turn to the converse nation that the infamous conversation trump has with zelensky over the phone. having been involved in politics at one time or another, as i have when i heard about what president trump has defined as the conversation, it just ever every commonplace to me. this is exactly what leaders of countries how they talk to one another. yet trump's conversation with zelensky was taken by the opposite party by congress as almost the worst sin imaginable. what was your viewpoint on when that conversation took place?
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well, unfortunate lately, literal hours after the conversation that taken place, i received a readout of the conversation, which was a literally a barely a paragraph summary, which did not go into any of detail. i talked a couple of people, and as i was on my way to kiev at the time, the conversation took place and they said, yeah, it was a great conversation. zelensky liked trump. they talked about getting together. so none of what came through the whistleblower was ever we find that out until much later until the complaint filed and until the congressional activity began. but reading that transcript and over and over again, to me that did not rise an impeachable level. january 6th is a different issue, so we have to be very, very careful about sort of
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mushing all of the trump into a bucket. you can't do that. i look at the trump presence and see very simplistically because i can't deal with overly complicated concepts. i have to do it in a really simple way. he came down the escalator when he announced his candidacy, and from the time he came down the escalator later until january 6th, he had really bad things that he said and did. he had really good things that he said and did and everything in between. he was a package deal. like many of us. you can't them apart. i heard more people. well i really like him or. i really like his policies. if he just wouldn't tweet or he just would do this or just. that's not how it works. you get him in his entirety or you don't get him at all. it's a binary issue. so i viewed all of my interact
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with him right up until january, including the famous zelensky phone call as in bucket a and bucket is none of this stuff warrants investigations or impeachments. it warrants the public exactly what happened and deciding at the next election. do they want to re-up or do they want to boot him out? this was a voter decision and everything he said and did, whether it was the famous tape and the bus about women, whether it was the things he said on the escalator, mexicans, that's a voter. january six to me was bucket b, which was an impeachable offense. and the reason is that, if i learned one thing as an ambassador, the world the europeans and others, they look at us that we do one thing very
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uniquely, and i call it the turnover of the keys. we over the keys to the next leader better than anyone in the world does and we do it in a very interesting way. the new president comes up to the white house. the old president and spouse greet the new president. and, you know, they hate each other's guts even if they're in the same party. they hate each other's guts and both full of --. and they hate each other's guts. and then they get in the car together and they ride to the capitol. and there's photographer sitting in the car, and they smile and pretend like they're just two pals writing the inauguration. still hating each other's guts. and then the old president sits on the podium with the new president and gazes at him, admiring as he's giving his inaugural address. they hate each other's guts and the new president goes to the
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white and waves goodbye to the old president opens the drawer in the desk. and there's a nice letter. and you know what? that all sounds a bunch of b.s., but to the it's critical. that's how you do it. it's not done by a coup. it's not done at the point of a gun. it's not done through coercion. it's not done through familial transfer of power. because this is my son. and he gets to be the next president, not he's qualified. and that's how we do things. and what president trump did by questioning the results of the election, by not doing the formal ality of going to the inauguration, and then even worse, by allowing the violence to continue and to happen in the first place, which he have stopped. to me that crossed the line. so everything before that to me was a voter decision. at that point.
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i thought that was. know. i want to turn to our friends in the audience and i would i bet that some or all of what gordon has said it might have spurred a question in your mind or any question that you might have when you read gordon's book. i know it'll drive even more questions, but we'll all start here and you could bring a microphone microphone. yes, your last to your last remark that he could have stopped it. i've always questioned that because the rioters weren't watching tv, so he could have stopped it with the national that he offered up in advance. but how could he stop something that had started by making a statement. oh, i think he would have had to
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go a lot further than just making statement. but i think you dissect what happened he watched it passively for a while. i think he encouraged people to march on the capitol, perhaps not to enter the capitol and tear the place up. but i think his bias was toward interfering with the process of the next election, as opposed to making sure that the next election was not interfered with any way. and i'm i don't want to dissect every single actually took because is up for debate but i can tell you in totality if you look at us again as a package not as one individ ual move, but the fact that he did not attend the inauguration, which is critical. it's critical to see two leaders pass the baton on in autocross
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seas that want to become democracies and in fledgling democracies are hanging on by a fingernail. watching that ceremony and i was making light of it but i shouldn't because it's critically important and when again when you take the of what he did do and what he didn't do to me was unforgivable. that's personal view. i'm and i am a supporter by way. i supported him. i didn't agree with everything he or did, but i supported him. i have never been a never trumper, nor have i been a kool-aid drinker, pro trumper. i've just been sort of i'm calling balls and strikes as i see them. and in this case, that's that's my view on the issue right here. i my you envision as potential endgames for putin in ukraine time horizons and likelihoods of various scenarios including
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nuclear threats that we're told may or may not include radioactive fallout. what what are the possibilities and what are the likelihoods? i think they're unfortunately know most of those endgames are under our our control. and that our allies. i think the continued equivocal fashion, even though we are approving new packages we're sending progressively sophisticated systems there in terms of defending airspace, in terms of more accurate targeting of of kinetic weapons. we're doing it in a very sort of halting way. and i think at this all bets are off putin knows we're backing the ukrainians. it's not a secret. he knows that there are proxy for us at this point even they weren't at the beginning. and we need to end it with our
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allies and we need to tell him, look, we're going to end it. we have to. we don't have a choice. otherwise, this is going to drag on and going to burden naito ultimately because this is the doorstep to europe europe. other. yeah, right back here. she's got a mic for you. all right. califor anya. and the entire southwest may run out of water sometime next year. i and many other people in the local newspapers have stated that to alleviate the not completely solve it a water pipeline needs to be built from washington, idaho, montana, north dakota. minnesota. wisconsin. in because that's where is water
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we have to do what the oil companies have been doing for over 100 years. you out and find out where the oil is. you pump it out of the ground and you put it in a pipe and spread it out through the united states. i have tried to explain this to my representatives for over two years and they just too dumb to understand the concern. thank you for your comment. oh, what what do you do to understand this basic? to get this basic into their heads that gordon just has a little background for you and i don't know how many in the audience are this situation, but through most of l.a., you're no longer allowed to water your lawn. for example, and there's a lot of envy for. our friends in the northwest who get rain just about every other
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day so. i don't know if you have a comment on this topic. there you have it. yeah, i'm not a water expert. i think exceeded my capabilities. okay. got it over here. hi. so question for you so donald trump is a real estate developer from new york, never held before. and here he comes and he wins the presidency. pretty remarkable. how you think he did, how effective he as a president of united states having zero zero experience in government just overall. how effective was he in that, you know, any lack of effectiveness had, eliot, was due to his own narcissism as opposed to his intelligence or his i witnessed multiple where
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for whatever reason he was focused he really understand the subject but he really which questions to ask. and once those were answered, he would press further and say, what if this happens versus that and how do you know and why is that important to? me why don't i need to know this instead of he did every single that a good ceo do because in particular meetings he wasn't looking inward. he was focused on the issue but there were issues where again i where the issue was fairly clear but it was always about, you know, how does this make me look? how do how do i gain something in terms of or popularity, in which case he was the worst of presidents. so i guess the simple answer is he clearly had the capability
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and has the capability. but is something that trips in his mind that turns on what i would call the super narcissism which really gets in his way and it's unfortunate because he is a very bright guy. you know right here we have time for just a couple more questions. yes, i hi. i have a question about the foreign service workers union. how effective was the administration in getting its appointees. four ambassadors ships because i heard from some of my contacts, washington, that there were a lot ambassadorships they wanted to appoint, but that nancy pelosi, others were just basically kowtowing to the unions and, blocking everybody. well, the confirmation of ambassadorships, you know,
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resides solely in the senate, starts with the foreign relations committee, which was controlled by democrats. and then, of course, the senate itself, in my case i was very fortunate, it's a very interesting anecdote of the things you have to do when you apply, be an ambassador is you have to all of your political contribution going back for, i believe it was 20 years and are the contributions that are online you can look up in the federal actions commission but not only do you have to disclose your contributions you have to disclose the contributions your spouse, your children and your siblings. so it turns out my only who i talked about earlier, who's 20 years older than i is a rabid democrat. so when i pulled this print out, i looked at all of the money
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essentially that i had given primarily to republicans and all of the money she had given 100% to democrats. and i said, this is great great. so i submitted it. of course, all of the staff, the committee goes, this guy is right down the middle. he gives to the republicans the system gives to the democrats. we like him. so as a result, i was introduced to the foreign relations committee, the two senators who gave their introductory on my behalf were senator, a conservative from north carolina who is a friend and senator, a liberal from oregon. so i breezed through the foreign relations committee and i got unanimous confirmation in the senate because had this bipartisan thing, a lot of the friends that you probably had were partizan republicans, which i am as. well, but maybe they didn't have the of having enough help from the other side which is always
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problem. yeah right here and then we'll go over there sorry hello. for someone who wants to work the foreign service besides knowing how and when to be brief, do you have any other quick recommendations besides knowing when and how to be brief and to not have a ton of white papers? i still don't understand. question besides being concise and getting to the portal, you mean what attributes to become a foreign service officer and to develop within myself? i see. well, the good thing about career foreign service people is they become subject matter experts. and that's one of the reasons that i argue strenuously that more political appointees should be ambassadors rather than less which is completely counter intuitive and contrarian to what the media says, which is, oh, these ambassadors are a bunch of
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rich fat cats. they buy these ambassadorships. they don't know what they're doing. they're cutting people out that have worked all their lives in this profession. and i couldn't disagree because people my background and my colleagues, our job is to get in advance agenda of the united states and get out. we're not there for a career. we're not there for the rest of our lives. and so the people that you're describing are the people that really us make the because they will understand the particular country, the language the law, the culture, because all they've done their entire careers study. so they're incredible resources to the ambassador and so i think the deputy should always be the subject matter expert and the ambassador should the political appointee that's my mine too i'm here and then last question
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here. you said that you led initially with envy, at least in part, and getting financial and now you can buy all the tic tacs you want. did anything switch for you in terms what you learned? i adore that lead and get out of the way in a lot of in this capacity. so what changed in you from what you started with like how how has what you've seen changed you as a leader, as a person, as a as a family man? what does that look like? that's a really good question. it's a hard one to answer because it i i'd have to lay down on a couch like talking to you. like i'm talking a shrink. you know, you you get to be a little bit more humble when your balloon has been popped. a lot. and in my life, my balloon has been popped quite a bit. i remember my wife when i told
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her i'm now an ambassador. i had taken oath and i said, now i get to be addressed. mr. ambassador, she looked at me and said, mr. ambassador, would you please take out the -- garbage half. in a understood, i think there was a yeah, let here in the front. it's now my ex-wife by the way not that this is our last question ambassador earlier year bill barr spoke to us in a very similar setting listening to you closely tonight, i see many similarities about bright people to help their country and go it bill barr yourself many others what it about donald trump that drove so many of you to leave
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and is there anyone who would be able to tell him to back if the republican party needed to unite to confront 2024. well your second question first. i hope there is because frankly again, my own view, i supported him, as i said, up january six. i'm not angry with him. i have no amnesty toward him. i wish he had been successful, but i don't believe he can govern if he's elected in 24. i believe will be so saddled with investigations, potential calls for further his family. what i want to see, i think what most republicans want to see is they liked his policies. his policies barely had a chance to take hold. and if you really look at the country at the end of 2019,
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october, november of 19, the country, whether you're a democrat or republican, was much headed in the right direction under any metric you want to look. everything was starting to work. was it perfect? no, absolutely not. but it was a lot better. it is today. so we want those policies. we don't want the baggage that goes those policies. that's the way i look at it. i think there are six or seven or eight candidate. it's out there. i made my own decision whether it's governor desantis, governor youngkin, pompeo, ambassador haley, you know, vice president pence and others, all of whom could hit the ground running as president of the united day one. they all largely follow the trump policies because three of them worked for trump and they were deploying those policies. so i think as a nation we're better off asking president to
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become the elder statesman and having one of those candidates carry the forward. mm hmm. well, with that, mr. ambassador. gordon, we really it's just i've cherished this hour. i'm just so much appreciate your honesty your straightforwardness. and in telogen and all those things that made you a terrific ambassador on behalf of everyone here. thank you word. thank you so much. i


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