2020 Candidate John Hickenlooper On The Mueller Report, China And Fracking11:01
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Democratic presidential candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the National Action Network's annual convention on April 5, 2019 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the National Action Network's annual convention on April 5, 2019 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper (@Hickenlooper) is calling for Democrats to delay a decision on whether to move to impeach President Trump following the release of the redacted Mueller report last week.

The former Colorado governor says the decision to move forward with impeachment proceedings shouldn't be made until Democrats receive an unredacted version of the special counsel's findings.

"I think Mr. Mueller should testify in front of Congress, and then we can see in gory detail and in high-contrast color more clearly what went on and make a decision about impeachment," Hickenlooper tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson.

Hickenlooper says he sees facts in Mueller's report that "no one's arguing about" — and that he would make those findings a priority if he wins the Democratic nomination.

"The Trump campaign welcomed the assistance of a hostile foreign power to interject themselves and try and change the outcome of our elections. To me, that's unthinkable," Hickenlooper says. "And then, of course they lied about it, and then they took steps to prevent the truth from coming out. So we should expect more from our commander in chief."

Interview Highlights

On why he is running for president 

"I'm running for president because I think we're in a national crisis of division. I don't think we've been this divided since, probably since the Civil War, and it's preventing us from dealing with some of these really big challenges: the incredible inflation for health care costs over the last 30 years; the way the entire workplace is going to be disrupted by artificial intelligence and automation; climate change. We are rapidly approaching a point of irreversible damage to our planet, and yet, somehow we're not able to even find the smallest common ground."

"The problem isn't fracking, and I understand why people want to get out of hydrocarbons immediately, but most of those people are still driving automobiles."

John Hickenlooper

On how he would tackle the issue of climate change and criticism of his support for fracking

"The problem isn't fracking, and I understand why people want to get out of hydrocarbons immediately, but most of those people are still driving automobiles. What we've done in Colorado — and I'd hold our record up against any other state — we were able to get the oil and gas industry and the environmental community to sit down and negotiate what we call methane regulations. But you know, methane is 25 to 40 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide. So we ended up getting the oil and gas industry to pay $60 million a year to address these fugitive emissions of methane. We've just in the process still now of closing two coal-fired electrical generation plants in southern Colorado, replacing them with wind, solar and for the first time in the country, batteries.

"At some point, we want to get to as clean an energy system as possible. And that's going to require all kinds of innovations, some of which we've never even seen to this day. It'll take a while before we are completely free of all hydrocarbons. Let's be brutally honest. I don't see any way that that could possibly ever happen by 2030. But I do share the urgency that we've got to make that transition much more rapidly than what we're seeing take place today."

On how to deal with heart disease, the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.

"I think our system rewards when you have a medical crisis. That's when hospitals and doctors and pharmaceutical companies, that's ... when they get paid a lot of money. There's no great economic reward for the system if we convince citizens to avoid or change their lifestyle, so they don't become vulnerable for heart attacks. If they don't have high blood pressure. So we need to change that whole system.

"One thing we've done in Colorado is really promote aggressively outdoor recreation. Get more people walking, more people hiking. We've got to bring exercise back into elementary and middle and high schools. There's got to be a recess. We've got to become more active. And instead, we're going just the opposite direction. You know, the big financial incentive for our system is to get kids to spend more time looking in their cell phones. That's not healthy at all."

"The roughly 160 million people that get their health care coverage through private insurance, most of it through their workplace. ... I don't see government prying away the health care insurance that people are happy with."

John Hickenlooper

On the idea of Medicare-for-all health care coverage

"Well, I believe in universal coverage, and I think we have to provide a public option of some sort. And maybe that'll be Medicare or some combination of Medicare and Medicare Advantage. It could also be expanding Medicaid, but I don't think, I mean the roughly 160 million people that get their health care coverage through private insurance, most of it through their workplace. ... I don't see government prying away the health care insurance that people are happy with from 80, 100, 120 million people. So if we provide a public option --and that is Medicare or Medicare Advantage or some combination — and Medicare grows in its scale, its costs go down, it becomes what everybody chooses, and then we evolve into Medicare-for-all. But it's an evolution. It's not a revolution."

On how much time he's spent outside of the U.S.

"Oh, a fair amount. When I was young, I was — I wouldn't say obsessed — but I spent a lot of time in Latin America. When I was a graduate student as a geologist, I worked in Costa Rica for about 10 months. I've always been someone who explores new territories. And most of that's been in Latin America, but I've also been multiple times to Japan and Israel and Europe, Asia. You learn about your own culture by immersing yourself in other cultures."

On how the U.S. should approach its policy towards China

"Well let me first say, that China was cheating on agreements. China was stealing intellectual property from American companies. I think we needed to address that. That being said, getting into a trade war, you know in that trade war, we, in many ways, have withdrawn from all of our international agreements. We're allowing China to have an open field in South America, in Africa, in Central Asia, and they are now making investments in infrastructure and building relationships that we're going to regret deeply. I mean, China is so large — both geographically and by population — ultimately, slowly they will become larger than the United States. We have to make sure that as they grow, we understand and are able to help shape that growth, so that long term we have a vision of how we can coexist and not be rivals, and not get to the brink of military engagement. I think what President Trump has created with the trade war is pushing us to situations where we do get closer to armed conflict."

On how his father's death when he was young impacted his life

"Well, my father was a great raconteur. He loved telling stories. He was an engineer. So he was a person comfortable with numbers and economics. I've gotten so much of who I am from him. But he got cancer when I was, I think I was four and a half or five, so I don't have that many memories of him. But he died just after I turned eight, and his vacuum, his absence was something I never could identify. But it was there, and it certainly created in me an empathy. I felt marginalized in many ways, and I became very empathetic with other people that were the kids in school that didn't fit in as well socially with everybody else. I was the kid in my class that tried to be friends with everybody. And in that process, I think I learned how to listen to people better. You know, my mother told us when we were kids, 'You can't control what life throws at you.' Right? What terrible things come you can't control, but you can control how you respond, whether it makes you stronger or weaker."


Jill Ryan produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Kathleen McKenna. Samantha Raphelson adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on April 23, 2019.

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