Jon Sopel is the BBC’s political editor for North America whose extensive coverage of the United States means there are very few British journalists working today who understand the American political and cultural landscape as he does. He has had rare access and insight to those shaping the world’s most powerful nation, having interviewed President Barack Obama and reporting on the last three presidential campaigns.
Then in February 2017 Jon went head-to-head with President Donald J. Trump at a notoriously combative press conference where the Commander-in-Chief hissed menacingly, “I know who YOU are…” after being challenged on his Executive Order for an immigration ban. The 2016 election shone a light on the divisions between black and white, young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural, educated and uneducated. And in this new political era Jon’s book, If Only They Didn’t Speak English: Notes from Trump’s America, is our essential guide to this New America.
Join Britain’s best-known political journalist for a very special evening as he divulges his first-hand experience from a country whose ‘special relationship’ with Britain has never felt so uncertain. Jon explores American life through British eyes and questions how ‘the Greatest Country on Earth’ has become mired in a storm of political extremism, radical division and increasingly perverse beliefs. Jon will be in conversation with Times columnist and author, David Aaronovitch.
Find out more about the author
As the BBC’s North America Editor, Jon Sopel has had a pretty busy time of it lately. In the 18 months it’s taken for a reality star to go from laughingstock to leader of the free world, Jon has travelled the length and breadth of the United States, experiencing it from a perspective that most of us could only dream of: he has flown aboard Air Force One, interviewed President Obama and has even been described as ‘a beauty’ by none other than Donald Trump.
Through music, film, literature, TV and even through the food we eat and the clothes that we wear we all have a highly developed sense of what America is and through our shared, tangled history we claim a special relationship. But America today feels about as alien a country as you could imagine. It is fearful, angry and impatient for change. Reflecting on his journey across the continent to cover the most turbulent race in recent history, Jon Sopel lifts a lid on the seething resentments, profound anxieties and sheer rage that found its embodiment in a brash, unpredictable and seemingly unstoppable figure.
In this fascinating, insightful portrait of American life and politics, Jon sets out to answer our questions about a country that once stood for the grandest of dreams but which is now mired in a storm of political extremism, racial division and increasingly perverse beliefs.