Renowned primatologist and environmental activist Jane Goodall minced no words in a recent interview in which she was asked to describe former President Donald Trump.
Goodall, 88, appeared on MSNBC’s latest installment of The Summit Series Tuesday with host Ari Melber, a show that features leaders at the summit of their fields. During the nearly 40-minute-long interview, Melber pivoted to the topic of politics.
Viewing a montage of Trump's comments over the years, from his 2016 presidential debate with Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton to him honking a horn in the front seat of a tractor-trailer and hugging the American flag, Melber asked Goodall her opinion of Trump’s behavior—in anthropological terms, of course.
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Goodall left her birthplace of England at 26 to travel to Tanzania and into the Gombe forest and the world of chimpanzees, where she’s been for the last 60 years. So, if anyone understands their behavior, it’s this groundbreaking researcher and author.
“They’re upright, they swagger, they project themselves as really more large and aggressive than they may actually be in order to intimidate their rivals,” Goodall said, comparing Trump to the chimps.
Goodall added that although she is not an American or a politician, she sees that “the divisiveness that’s being created in your America is a tragedy and a tragedy that can have a ripple effect around the world.”
You can see Goodall’s response starting at the 29:30 mark below:
Melber also talked with Goodall about the recent release of a Jane Goodall Barbie doll. When asked what it means to have a doll in her likeness, Goodall said, “The original Barbie dolls were all pretty pink frills and very, very feminine.”
She added that in her 88 years of life, she’s seen a lot of change, particularly in the way that “women are accepted into the upper levels of politics and business and [although] it’s not the same in all countries, and there’s some sexual bias in wages and so forth, but the change has been tremendous. And so a Barbie doll that encourages different girls to think that ‘I can do that if I want to’ or ‘I can do something else that I want to.’”