Transcript: Michael Bloomberg on "Face the Nation," April 22, 2018

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire philanthropist, announced a new development in his work to combat climate change, on this Sunday's broadcast of "Face the Nation."

What follows is a transcript of the interview that aired Sunday, April 22, 2018.


BLOOMBERG: America made a commitment and as an American if the government's not going to do it we all have responsibility. I'm able to do it. So, yes, I'm going to send them a check for the monies that America had promised to the organization as though they got it from the federal government.

BRENNAN: Four and a half million dollars this year. Will you do the same next or--

BLOOMBERG: We'll figure out-- hopefully by then President Trump will have changed his view which would be great.

BRENNAN: President Trump has been a huge critic of this Paris Climate Change Accord but--

BLOOMBERG: He has been. But that doesn't mean he can't listen to others and change his mind. A person that doesn't change their mind isn't very smart. A person that listens to facts--

BRENNAN: He changes his mind.

BLOOMBERG: And he's been known to change his mind. That is true. But he should change his mind and say look there really is a problem here. America is part of the problem. America is a big part of the solution and we should go in and help the world stop a potential disaster.

BRENNAN: One of the criticisms of this agreement, the Paris Climate Change Accords, is it's non-binding. It's basically not enforceable and none of the developed nations who are part of it have actually met the benchmarks they set for themselves.

BLOOMBERG: But that does--

BRENNAN: Aren't you concerned that you're throwing some, some good money after bad?

BLOOMBERG: Look it's dangerous to keep doing what we're doing. If everybody would do the right thing, yes, it would be better. But if some people or some countries do the right thing we all benefit from that.

BRENNAN: But the criticism is that industrialized nations aren't living up to those pledges.

BLOOMBERG: I can't speak for other nations. All I know is that America I believe will meet its commitment by 2025 to reduce greenhouse gases by an agreed amount and if we do it hopefully other countries will do it as well.

BRENNAN: Do you feel like you're filling a leadership gap? For the United States?

BLOOMBERG: Well I think that this is what the American public when you poll them say they want to do. We've got companies and states and individuals all agreeing to step in, report to the United Nations what our progress is the way all the other countries are going to do it, commit-- fulfill our commitment to fund part of it. It's not a lot of money. But America made that commitment and most importantly to do the things that will keep temperatures from going up and really potentially changing our life for the worst.

BRENNAN: After the election the president gave you his personal cell phone number. Why don't you call him?

BLOOMBERG: Well I think when he watches this program on Sunday morning-- he'll, he'll get my views.

BRENNAN: How do you assess EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt?

BLOOMBERG: His policies are not good for the world. To debunk science and walk away from it is just ridiculous. Even if you don't believe it, if there's a possibility that it's right you have to take prophylactic actions to prevent a disaster. And what I do know is that a lot of kids go to the hospital with asthma attacks because we have a lot of junk we put in the air. A lot of people come down with stomach cancers because there's a lot of stuff that goes into the water. A lot of people's houses are being destroyed and they're getting killed in hurricanes and things like that--

BRENNAN: It sounds like you think he's not doing the job that he should be doing.

BLOOMBERG: I don't think there's any question about that. He was hired. His job is to protect the environment and he has walked away a hundred percent from that saying, "The environment doesn't need protection. I'm going to try to protect jobs." That's not his job.

BRENNAN: Should he be fired?

BLOOMBERG: That's up to the president to decide. If he could get Scott Pruitt to change his policies, then he can keep him. But it's-- the issue is that what he's doing is very damaging to your health and your children's health and mine.

BRENNAN: But he would say and the administration would say that criticisms like yours are just pure politics.

BLOOMBERG: If there's anybody that's making it a political issue it's this administration. Ninety nine percent of all scientists after peer review say that something is happening in the world. It's changing. Everybody that looks outside their window can see that we have less snow here and more snow there and bigger storms and a whole bunch of things that the oceans are rising and things are changing and you can't deny that.

BRENNAN: At the DNC in 2016, you called Donald Trump a "risky, reckless and radical choice" and the country you said couldn't afford to make that mistake.

BLOOMBERG: Did I say that?

BRENNAN: It was a memorable quote. Has he done anything to make you reconsider that? Do you think he's doing a good job?

BLOOMBERG: I think he, it's, I would give him an incomplete grade. Some of the things that he's done, I don't agree with-- the style of changing your mind every day and leaving your staffs out there to make embarrassing things that you don't back them up. And the turnover in the administration is really dangerous and worrisome and not fair to people. But you know to criticize him doesn't advance anything.

BRENNAN: His compelling case was that he came from the world of business as you did.

BLOOMBERG: No he didn't. He was a real estate developer. He was-- he didn't manage large numbers of people. He didn't run big organizations. He was I gather a reasonably successful real estate developer which is just a different occupation. It's not really a business person.

BRENNAN: And do you see though I mean you're drawing a distinction there. Do you see some management issues then? When you say--

BLOOMBERG: Oh I don't think there's any question that--

BRENNAN: The hiring, the firing, the tweeting--

BLOOMBERG: Management is not something you-- it's like skiing-- you don't read a book on skiing and then go out and ski double black diamonds. Management is something you learn over a period of time and you have to manage larger and larger groups of people and make more and more difficult decisions and live with those decisions as you go. This president does not have experience in running large organizations or facing a lot of the issues that he has to face and the one time I talked to him after he got elected, my advice was to him was get people regardless of their political persuasion who have expertise in each of these areas that you're not an expert on and give them authority to go along with responsibility and then let them do it even when there are things that you don't agree with. And when they make decisions that you don't necessarily agree with or that don't turn out to be the right decisions you have to back them up. If you don't give people the confidence that you're going to have their backs you're not going to get good people and you're not going to keep them.

BRENNAN: You're an independent. You've been a Democrat, you've been a Republican.

BLOOMBERG: I know something about partisan politics. I've been them all.

BRENNAN: So do you see any candidates in any of those parties right now that you see embodying the kind of leadership you want to support and would support in 2020?

BLOOMBERG: I think if you look back at history it is such a long time from this point in this cycle until the election that I bet you 25 cents the candidate that gets the nomination isn't even mentioned today. 

BRENNAN: Because you're a numbers guy what are the odds you'd put on you deciding to run?

BLOOMBERG: Not very high. You know look I've--

BRENNAN: Not very high, but not zero?

BLOOMBERG: Well if God said I'd appoint you-- I think it's a great challenge and you'd have to think long and hard, and you know, you're physically able to do it. Can you think-- do you think you can attract the right people? Because it's not going to be you. It's the staff that you're going to build that team that I talked about. But at the moment I'm not running for president. I'm trying to do as good a job as I can. I'm interested in public education and I think the education system our country is going in the wrong direction. We've got to find programs where people can get jobs. We have defense issues around the world. We have potential things that could damage or destroy our country. We've got to build alliances around the world and do those kinds of things. And I think I can as a private citizen help in some of those things and that's what I want to do with my life.

BRENNAN: It also sounds like a platform.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: Well anything you say could be a platform. I don't know that is it. Do I think that the president of United States should do those things? Of course I think the President of the United States should do those things but he's not or she's not the only one that can do those things.