On Monday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., commended former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her leadership on democracy "as Secretary of State," before swiftly correcting herself.
The ex-speaker of the House and Clinton discussed the condition of democracy in the United States and worldwide at a talk organized by Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).
"Let’s start with this little matter of democracy because I think you and I believe that it’s not just in our country, but that’s where we see it most clearly, there is a concerted effort to undermine some of the very foundations of democratic governance, of a democratic society," Clinton said to Pelosi.
"There’s research, some of it done by SIPA in this university, showing that half the world’s democracies are backsliding, and that includes, sadly, the United States. So, what do you, Nancy, view as the biggest threats and challenges facing our democracy and what are the opportunities to try to stop that backsliding and turn it around?" she asked.
"Well, I appreciate that question, but I also appreciate your leadership in this regard when president –"Pelosi responded, but then interrupted herself, flinging her hands upwards, shifting her position in the chair, and placing her hand on her chest for emphasis. She attempted to regain her composure by expressing her aspiration for Clinton to become president.
Pelosi continued, "But when Secretary Clinton was in the Senate and first lady, but especially as secretary of State in more recent time – she has been and at that time implemented many things showing America’s support for democracy."
She proceeded to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for rigging the 2016 election in favor of Trump, stating that it was because he regarded Clinton as his most significant threat.
"It was her clarity and position to the present – Putin – present occupant leader of Russia, that made him turn around and ensure, in an illegal way, come out against her in her campaign and interference in our democracy by Vladimir Putin, because Hillary Clinton was the person he feared most in terms of his lack of democracy in Russia. That’s, I think, self-evident, so thank you for what you have done," Pelosi said.
The video for the lecture was ridiculed by the independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, who also censured Clinton's influence on US foreign policy.
"The US official who has urged more wars than anyone over the last 3 decades with the possible exception of John Bolton - including Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now Ukraine - is teaching Columbia students a class called ‘Foreign-Policy Decision-Making,’" he wrote. "And boy they're excited!"
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