Jerry Brown may have retired from politics, but he hasn't retired from the world of ideas. When the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists held its annual Doomsday Clock event this week, Brown was there as its new executive director, helping deliver the grim assessment that the world is still on the brink of nuclear annihilation.
It's one of the causes the legendary four-term California governor and three-time presidential candidate is now working on from his sprawling family ranch, far from the daily tumult of Sacramento politics. In a recent interview, we asked 80-year-old Brown what he thinks of the current state of affairs in Washington. On the subject of nuclear dismantlement, he praised Donald Trump for his willingness to dialogue with Kim Jong Un but lamented there's been "no substance" from the talks. And regarding the government shutdown, he had an immediate, visceral reaction to the issue at the center of the impasse:
"When I see that wall, I think of the Berlin Wall and being locked in," Brown said. "Trump sees it as locking out the immigrants. This is a humanitarian crisis that I would like to see positive intervention. Some outreach."
VICE News' interview with Brown covered his life in politics, what it means to be a “planetary realist,” and why “Governor Moonbeam” is living out his final years as a nuclear Cassandra.
This segment originally aired January 24, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.