Former Citigroup Chairman and former Time Warner CEO, Dick Parsons, joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss the January 6 protests and raid on the U.S. Capitol.
ANDY SERWER: Hello, everyone. I'm Andy Serwer and welcome to Influencers. And welcome to our guest, Dick Parsons, senior advisor at private equity firm Providence Equity and the former Chairman of Citigroup, as well as the former CEO of Time Warner. Dick, nice to see you.
DICK PARSONS: Nice see you again, Andy. Been a long time.
ANDY SERWER: Been a long time indeed. So Dick, I want to start off by asking you about the news of the day, which is what's going on in Washington D.C. in terms of the protests, the general transition of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, and what happened in Georgia as well. But let's start with what's going on in Washington D.C. with regard to the Capitol. what's your take on that?
DICK PARSONS: Well, you know, it is as various supporters who were down there are saying, it's unprecedented. It's a surprise to me because I would have anticipated that frankly, that the Capitol police and that the D.C. police, augmented by whatever they needed to be augmented by, would have been ready for this. But it's almost as if they thought it was going to be just a normal day at the Capitol. So I wonder who was in charge of planning that or preparing for that.
But I think it's really sort of shameful that we have a president who as you know was exhorting the mob, that's what this president is doing. He basically gave a little speech earlier in the day saying, you should all march down to the Capitol and you express your displeasure. While he did not advocate violence again, been much of that I gather yet. Again, everybody knows you get tens of thousands of people together in an angry mob, violence is a natural you know, sort of byproduct of it.
So you know, I don't think our president has covered himself with glory here but I don't think our president has covered himself with glory since the election. I mean, he's basically perpetrating a lie which I personally believe he knows is a lie but there are those among us, including my wife, who believe that he honestly thinks he won and that this is some sort of mental breakdown on his part and he's now going to have I think whatever the result of this storming of the Capitol will be because it's going to be on Donald Trump's hands. Does he care? It doesn't appear that he does but many of the people who signed up for this trip to fantasy land with him I think are going to have to rethink their position.
ANDY SERWER: You know, it's interesting you hear you speak this way because when I talk to executives like yourself in private, sometimes they'll say these things but they're more reluctant to come out publicly and speak. Do you think that these events will spur people to be more, a little bit forthright or outspoken when it comes to their thoughts?
DICK PARSONS: I think so. I think so. Because you know, this is something that's like a spiral and it's spun further out of control every time it goes around the center. And now it's kind of broken through anybody's ability to rationally sort of accept it.
And so I think that people of you know, character are finally going to sort of say it doesn't matter that this guy may be the future of the Republican party-- I don't think he will be, but there are those who think he can play kingmaker, it doesn't matter that you know, he's the President of the United States, his behavior is just out of bounds and wrong.