In a new interview, the Dalai Lama said Trump lacks moral principle, refugees should ultimately return to their homeland, and any future female Dalai Lama should be attractive.
In a new interview with the BBC, the Dalai Lama said he thinks President Trump lacks moral principle and restated past opinions about a female successor and refugees in Europe.
The interview was conducted by BBC’s South Asian correspondent, Rajini Vaidyanathan. When Vaidyanathan asked the Dalai Lama what he thinks of Donald Trump in office, the Dalai Lama responded,
One day he says something, another day he says something, but I think [there’s a] lack of moral principle… When he become president he expressed: ‘America first.’ That is wrong. America, they should take the global responsibility.
Later in the interview, Vaidyanathan asked the Dalai Lama about his past statement that migrants should eventually return to their home countries — a view of the Dalai Lama’s sometimes quoted in anti-immigration campaigns.
Update, July 2, 2019: The Office of the Dalai Lama has released a statement clarifying the Dalai Lama’s remarks. The clarification emphasizes that the Dalai Lama “meant no offence” by his statement about his successor and is “deeply sorry.” It also says that the joke originated in 1992 when the Dalai Lama was guest-editing Vogue, suggesting that the joke was “amusing” in that cultural context, but the humor may have been lost in translation.
The statement also adds context to the Dalai Lama’s remarks on immigration, saying, “He certainly appreciates that many of those who leave their countries may not wish or be able to return.” The statement explains that Tibetans “cherish the idea of returning home.”
His Holiness reaffirmed his past statements that Europe should welcome and support refugees with the aim that they can eventually return to their homeland. Asked if refugees should be allowed to stay in Europe, the Dalai Lama responded,
Limited number… OK. But whole Europe eventually become Muslim country? Impossible. Or African country. Also impossible… They themselves, I think better to their own land. Better. Keep Europe for Europeans.
Vaidyanathan also asked the Dalai Lama about a statement he made in 2015, that a female Dalai Lama “must be attractive. Otherwise it’s not much use.” When Vaidyanathan cited the quote, the Dalai Lama laughed, “Yes.” He then doubled down on his remarks.
“If female Dalai Lama comes, then she should be more attractive. If female Dalai Lama,” he pantomimed unattractiveness by scrunching up his face, “Oh, oh… Then people, I think prefer not see her, that face.”
Read the full transcript below:
The Dalai Lama on Donald Trump
Dalai Lama: His emotions also, little bit…too complicated.
Rajini Vaidyanathan: What do you mean by that? What do you think of him in office?
One day he says something, another day he says something, but I think [there’s a] lack of moral principle.
When he become president he expressed: ‘America first.’ That is wrong. America, they should take the global responsibility.
… on Brexit
I am one admirer of [the] spirit of [the] European Union. I’m outsider but I feel better [to] remain in the union.
The campaign to leave the European Union used one of your quotes in their posters. It said: ‘The goal should be that migrants return and help rebuild their countries. You have to be practical. It’s impossible for everyone to come.’
The European countries should take these refugees and give them education and training and then aiming is – return to their own land.
And if these people want to stay in Europe, shouldn’t they be allowed to?
Limited number… OK. But whole Europe eventually become Muslim country? Impossible. Or African country. Also impossible.
There’s nothing wrong with that, is there? I mean, you’re a refugee yourself.
They themselves, I think better to their own land. Better. Keep Europe for Europeans.
… on Tibet
Have you given up the hope of returning?
No, no, no. Tibetan people very much showed their trust in me, so they are very, very eager. Many old people, with tears, they ask me: ‘Please come to Tibet.’
So how would that happen, Your Holiness?
Now, China is changing.
… on China
So you have had contact.
in the last few years with Chinese officials? Who?
Entirely privately. Number of Chinese retired officials and some scholars who have some connections with Chinese government.
Has President Xi ever asked you for a meeting?
Do you think China’s growing influence is having an impact on your own influence and the cause of Tibet?
I don’t care. No. I think the Chinese themselves is changing
… a female successor?
You once said that you would be open to a female successor.
That’s also possible.
You also told one of my colleagues that: ‘That female must be attractive otherwise it’s not much use.’
Can you see why that comment upset a lot of women?
That is one time. If female Dalai Lama comes, then she should be more attractive. If female Dalai Lama… Oh, oh… That people, I think prefer, not see her, that face.
A lot of women would say that’s objectifying women and it’s about who you are inside isn’t it?
Yes, I think both.