Hillary Clinton continued her book publicity tour Tuesday night when she stopped by CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
As well as touting her memoir What Happened about the 2016 presidential election, Clinton, who was often accused of being cold and impersonal during the campaign trail, showed good humor as she shared a glass of Chardonnay with Colbert and even dropped a few anecdotes.
The most interesting story was her difficult relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin during her time as secretary of state under President Obama.
Clinton and Colbert discussed Russia’s involvement in hacking the election—"[Putin] doesn’t like democracy...he wants to destabilize our country," she said—before segueing into her own interactions with him.
Clinton told Colbert that she and Putin clashed on diplomatic matters when she was in office “which he did morph into a grudge against me.”
“I don’t take it personally,” Clinton said. “I see it as I was doing my job. I was honored to speak out on behalf of American values and our democracy.”
The former Democratic presidential candidate accused Putin of sexism, saying, “Partly because I’m a woman, which seems to get him a bit agitated…”
Colbert asked for an example of a time she experienced misogyny. Clinton said Putin would manspread in her presence.
“There’s an expression, we certainly know it in New York, called manspreading. Every time I met with him...it would be [legs sprawled out]. The whole deal,” she said.
Clinton said she often tried to find things in common with Putin when they had meetings, and at one point complimented him on campaigning for wildlife conservation of Siberian tigers and other animals in Russia.
“Then he came alive. Then we had an interesting conversation,” Clinton.
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“He said, ‘Come with me,’ he takes me down the stairs, down the corridor, into the door...into this inner-sanctum with this huge desk and the biggest map of Russia I think exists. He started telling me he’s going here to tag polar bears.”
Clinton saw this as an opening for an invite. But, wait. There’s a punchline. “Then he says to me, ‘Would your husband like to come?’” Clinton recalled.
Clinton also gave her opinion on President Trump’s United Nations address earlier Tuesday in New York, where he incredulously referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man” and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea in the event of nuclear threat against the U.S.
The former secretary of state told Colbert she thought the speech was “dark and dangerous” and would not alleviate tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, but incite them. “Not the kind of message the leader of the greatest nation in the world should be delivering,” said Clinton.
Clinton said the “approach should always be diplomatic.”
So how would she handle the situation?
Clinton said: “What I hoped the president would have said is something along the lines of: ‘We view this as dangerous to our allies, the region and even to our country. We call on all nations to work with us to try and end the threat posed by Kim Jong Un.’”
“And not call him Rocket Man,” she continued. “But to say it clearly, ‘We will not tolerate attacks on our friends or ourselves.’ But you should lead with diplomacy, lead with the commitment to avoid conflict however you can.”
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