Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says Trump is 'most undemocratic president' in US history

“We cannot have a president who believes that he’s above the law," she said.

April 10, 2018, 5:04 PM

During an appearance on "The View" today, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had some harsh words for President Donald Trump, calling him "the most undemocratic president we have had in American history."

Albright, who served under President Bill Clinton, said Trump "is trying to undermine democratic processes."

She called his reaction Monday to an FBI raid on the home and office of his personal attorney Michael Cohen "a tirade that [was] absolutely [a] mistake."

"We cannot have a president who believes that he's above the law and that is what he's doing," Albright said. "We can't have a president who doesn't tell the truth and is also taking in his own hands, the law."

At a meeting Monday evening with senior military leadership at the White House, Trump described the raid as a break-in. When reporters in the meeting asked him why he wouldn't just fire special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump didn't rule out the idea.

"Why don't I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens," Trump said.

Albright said today that "it would be a disaster" if Trump fired Mueller and she called on Congress to "stand up."

"I'm saying it's Article I time," said Albright, referring to the section of the Constitution that enumerates the powers of Congress. "They need to fulfill their responsibilities and make sure they are an equal branch of government."

On Trump’s approach to Syria

Albright also said it was dangerous that "Trump can't make up his mind" about policy in Syria. She said that his instruction last week to pull troops immediately from Syria was unacceptable and that it "probably emboldened [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad."

The day after Trump's announcement, the White House walked back his call for the U.S. to leave Syria very soon.

On Saturday, there were reports of an apparent chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma that killed dozens of civilians.

"There has to be a strategy -- and there is no strategy," Albright said. "This is one of the problems with Trump. He doesn't have any strategies. He just has tweets!"

Albright also criticized John Bolton's appointment as Trump's third national security adviser in light of rising pressure for the U.S. to get involved in Syria. Bolton began his tenure at the White House on Monday.

"I can't think of a more dangerous appointment," she said. "This is a person that has very hard-line views. ... A good national security adviser tries to get the views of the people around the table. ... You don't go in there, telling everybody what they're going to do."

Albright said Syria is "about as complicated as anything I've ever seen."

"There has to be a combination of tools used here. Obviously, diplomacy is part of it. Using force is part of it. But there also has to be a way to have a political settlement. ... Not just hitting various bases, arguing with the Russians over things," she said.

On Trump's planned meeting with Kim Jong Un

As President Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Albright met with Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, in October 2003. She remains the highest-level sitting U.S. official to meet a North Korean leader.

"I do believe in diplomacy," Albright said. "The problem is you have to be prepared."

She said that much work and preparation had preceded her 2003 meeting.

"When I went ... it was after many years of a variety of talks and getting the South Koreans and the Japanese involved. ... We had worked on it really, really hard," she said.

She also said that Clinton had done "the right thing," when he was invited to North Korea.

"He said, 'Maybe at some point I will do it, but you have to prepare. ... So I'm sending the secretary of state,'" she said.

"You usually have a presidential meeting at the end of negotiations ... to seal it," Albright said. "And, a very well-prepared president, at that."

On her controversial comment while on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton

In February 2016, Albright got a lot of flak for saying that "there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other" during an event in New Hampshire. Many interpreted her comment as shaming women who supported Trump.

"For some reason, it was taken out of context!" Albright said. Today, she clarified that the quote was actually part of a larger compliment to Clinton.

"I've been saying for a very long time there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other. ... I think we're very hard on each other -- judgmental, not supportive," Albright said. "As I started saying it [that day], people started applauding and they didn't hear what I was actually saying. [I] was looking at Hillary and saying, 'Therefore, you are going to the other place, because of everything you're doing for women.'"

"I believe that one of the great privileges of a democracy is voting for whom you want and so I respect people's votes," she said.

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