Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the ladies of The View this week that it is time for them to stop giving Russian President Vladimir Putin what he wants.
The subject of Russia arose promptly during Rice’s visit on Tuesday’s edition of the program. Host Joy Behar sought Rice’s take on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s dealings with Russia, and Rice was quick to note that it had been Tillerson’s job while CEO of Exxon to do business with an oil-rich nation.
Rice then beat her hosts to the punch in raising the subject of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
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“Look at where relations are with the Russians. Again, I think we ought to be looking into what ties were there, that makes perfectly good sense. But I also want to say something about Vladimir Putin and interfering in our elections. He has been trying to interfere in your election and everybody else’s for a very long time,” she said.
She said technology has changed Russia’s methods but not its motives.
“What cyber allows (Putin) to do is to do it more efficiently and more quickly. Let’s not deceive ourselves that the Russians haven’t tried these tricks before. They have,” she said.
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Rice said she would have taken an aggressive tone with Russia as soon as its interference was found.
“Now, I would have said — I would have said to the Russians, ‘We know you did it. At the time of our choosing, we will find a way to punish that behavior.’ But Vladimir Putin is an eye-for-an-eye kind of person, and we questioned — Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton questioned the legitimacy of his election in 2012. Now he’s saying, ‘I’m going to question the legitimacy of your election by hacking into it and so forth,'” she said.
“So don’t let him get the satisfaction of thinking that we don’t believe our own elections to be legitimate,” Rice said.
Host Sara Haines then asked whether Putin’s efforts to hurt Clinton’s presidential campaign were part of a personal vendetta.
“I think it was personal. He likes to intimidate,” she said.
She then illustrated that with an anecdote about Putin’s private conduct.
“Now, I can tell you that I was with him on many occasions, and one particular occasion we went into a room to discuss and his people are sitting on one sofa. He and his foreign minister. And I’m sitting on the other. And I’m delivering a message about U.S.-Russian relations and they were messing around in Georgia at the time, and I said, ‘You know, Mr. President, if you do anything in Georgia, President Bush wants you to know that that would greatly affect our relationship.'”
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“And he stood up and now he’s peering over me. And so just on instinct, I stood up too. Now, I’m five foot — “
“He didn’t realize who he was peering over,” interjected host Whoopi Goldberg.
“I’m 5 foot 10 in heels. He’s not,” Rice continued. “So you can’t be intimidated by Putin or let him play these psychological games. “
Sunny Hostin then suggested that Putin’s actions placed the legitimacy of the U.S. election at issue, but Rice rejected that premise.
“No, no. That’s where I — first of all, I don’t want to question his motives beyond he’s an eye-for-an-eye kind of person,” she said.
“Secondly, I trust the people who voted in Wisconsin and Texas and Alabama and California to have voted on the basis of who they thought was best going to represent their interests. And so I’m not going to question the legitimacy of their vote because Vladimir Putin tried to interfere in the elections. That’s just a step that I don’t think we should take. Let’s trust our fellow citizens to have been smart enough to have voted for the people they thought they ought to be voting for,” Rice added.
Before she left, Rice also noted that in winning the presidency Donald Trump gave himself a tremendous burden.
“He had never been in government before,” she said. “And when you haven’t been in government before, sometimes it looks kind of easy in there, until you get in there. And when he said, you know, ‘This job’s a lot harder than I thought,’ I actually kind of felt bad for him, because it is a really hard job, and it’s a lonely job, and you want people around you who you trust.”
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