Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stood up for President Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying that despite his inflammatory rhetoric his policies were not very different from those of past presidents.
“While the language may be different, and we might talk about needing to deal with policy, I think you’re going to see … that Americans’ interests in values are always linked,” Rice said on Squawk Box. “It’s early days in this administration. Let’s remember that.”
Speaking from the sidelines of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois, Rice noted that Trump had condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria — a point on which most Americans are likely agreed.
“I believe every President of the United States stands for our values,” Rice told CNBC on Wednesday. “You heard President Trump say, for instance, after the Syrian chemical attack, we can’t let that stand. What he was saying was the president of the United States can’t let that stand.”
Former Exxon Mobil chief Rex Tillerson, she added, had been a great choice for secretary of state since an “oilman knows the world like others don’t.”
Rice, who served as secretary of state and national security advisor under President George W. Bush, did however seem to contradict Trump’s apparent desire for friendship with Russia. Russia, she suggested, should be viewed as a “hostile power” in the wake of evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Any interference in our election has to be investigated,” she said.
Past Republican presidents have indeed pursued policies much akin to what Trump has so far set forth. Like Trump, President George W. Bush pledged to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. and re-imposed the Global Gag Rule that restricts funding to any international family planning organizations connected to abortion services — a policy first instituted by President Ronald Reagan. Rice was also in office when President Bush led in an invasion into Iraq after repeatedly assuring the public that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction — a charge that later proved to be unfounded.
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush said. “We need an independent media to hold people like me to account.”
Watch Rice’s interview below, and keep in mind that her comments came before Trump’s sexist attack on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinksi landed on Thursday morning. Presumably, those aren’t the values Rice was alluding to.
Read the full story at CNBC.