In a post debate segment, ABC’s Nightline on Wednesday night profiled 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, avoiding her weird and wacky beliefs on vaccines and the AIDS virus being represented by Darth Vader. Instead, reporter Marci Gonzalez enthused, “She's taking her passionate case far beyond her fan base.” Hinting at her unusual beliefs, the reporter noted, “She is also focused on this spiritual climate of America.”
Gonzalez offered softballs, such as this: “Williamson is aware of just how unconventional her aspirations are. What kind of negative feedback have you heard so far?” Continuing the new age happy talk, the journalist parroted, “[Williamson] says she's taking the inner peace she's taught for years to heart as she prepares for the uphill battle ahead. How tough is this going to be for you?”
“Unconventional” is a good way to describe Williamson, though Gonzalez didn’t explain this to her viewers. In the past, Williamson has called mandates for vaccines “draconian” and “Orwellian.” She has been accused of being an anti-vaxxer. As the Daily Beast noted, Williamson has dismissed the legitimacy of clinical depression.
Perhaps most bizarre? She described the AIDS virus as “angels in Darth Vader suits. More from the Daily Beast:
Or there is the quote from one of Williamson’s books where she described AIDS as “Angels-in-Darth Vader-Suits” and told people with the disease to “imagine the AIDS virus as Darth Vader, then unzip his suit to allow an angel to emerge.”
Of course, that didn’t come up on Nightline.
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more:
MARCI GONZALEZ: We were there in January when Williamson took to the same southern California stage where she's lectured for years to announce her candidacy. At what point did you think, I might run for president?
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON: It happened in a kind of moment, and it was one of those things where the idea just popped in. You know, I'm sure this is true of everyone who's running. You have to feel a deep calling to do this or you wouldn't take it on. I think what we need in the White House is more a visionary than just a political mechanic. The presidency is primarily a role of moral leadership. We need more than anything else in America today, we need a moral and spiritual awakening.
GONZALEZ: What would you say to people who fear you may not have the grit for the highest office?
WILLIAMSON: Experienced politicians have led us through the greatest income inequality since 1929. We need to dis-enthrall ourselves from this memorization that those who know how to run the car necessarily know where it should be driving.
GONZALEZ: Now she's taking her passionate case far beyond her fan base. She moved to Iowa earlier this year to show her full commitment ahead of a crucial caucus.
WILLIAMSON: I think we have a much bigger issue on our hands than just defeating Donald Trump in 2020.
GONZALEZ: But in a crowded field, she'll need to distinguish herself as the Democratic race tightens.
WILLIAMSON: This is an all hands on deck type of moment.
GONZALEZ: Williamson is a progressive. Her campaign website covers her stance on immigration, gun control and climate change but she is also focused on this spiritual climate of America.
WILLIAMSON: There's a certain level of spiritual and moral rot that has led to political corruption that has led to immeasurable human suffering.
GONZALEZ: And she feels President Trump has brought us to a crossroad.
WILLIAMSON: I think President Trump is the logical extension and embodiment of a problematic world view that has been with us for a long time. Our political establishment made the businessman god. The desire in 2016 for change on the part of the American people was legitimate. The change agent we got is no change agent at all, except in the worst possible way.
GONZALEZ: Do you pray for President Trump?
WILLIAMSON: I do pray for President Trump. We're all innocent children of the world is not served by President Trump being not in his best mind. And I think when you pray for someone you're praying that they be returned to their right mind.
GONZALEZ: Williamson is aware of just how unconventional her aspirations are. What kind of negative feedback have you heard so far?
WILLIAMSON: Who is she? Who does she think she is? She has no experience in government. I'm a 66-year-old woman. I'll take on any of these people for the kind of experience I've had in my life that I think is relevant to what America needs today.
GONZALEZ: She says she's taking the inner peace she's taught for years to heart as she prepares for the uphill battle ahead. How tough is this going to be for you?
WILLIAMSON: I assume very tough at times. It's an emotional and psychological challenge as well as an organizational challenge and financial challenge. I have to raise so much money, but exciting to be part of the game, to be in there. I feel I'm where I should be.
GONZALEZ: For Nightline, Marci Gonzalez in Los Angeles.