WASHINGTON — Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright issued stark criticism Saturday of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, calling him uninformed about and uninterested in foreign policy.
Albright, who served as both secretary of state and US ambassador to the United Nations under former President Bill Clinton, is a strong supporter of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House, and is spending the weekend campaigning for her in New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday’s primary contest, where polls show Sanders to be a formidable challenger to the presumptive Democratic frontrunner.
Before introducing Clinton at a campaign stop in Concord, New Hampshire, Albright spoke with MSNBC’s Kristen Welker about her concerns over the prospect of Sanders executing foreign policy.
“I’ve been very concerned about his lack of knowledge” she said. “Interestingly enough, one of my students just tweeted and said, ‘If he were in my class I would tell him to rewrite the paper,’ because he really, I think, does not know the things.”
She described Sanders’s performance at Thursday night’s primary debate between the two as emblematic of the Vermont senator being unequipped and unprepared to serve as commander in chief.
“I was really surprised to the answers to his questions in the debate,” she said. “When they were asked about which of the three countries were the most threatening, I think that he gave very simple answers to things.
“Most people know how many dictators North Korea has, but in contrast to Secretary Clinton, who not only talked about what was going on in each of those countries, but also the other concerns about it and the relationship to each other and what the United States had to look out for,” she added.
Albright was referring to a moment in the the debate when moderators Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow asked the candidates to rank Iran, North Korea and Russia in terms of which country poses the “greatest threat” to the United States.
Sanders picked North Korea, and then said: “Clearly North Korea is a very strange situation because it is such an isolated country run by a handful of dictators, or maybe just one, who seems to be somewhat paranoid. And, who had nuclear weapons. And, our goal there, in my view, is to work and … to do everything we can to put pressure on China.”
Clinton, on the other hand, selected Russia. In addition to the concerns generated from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, Clinton insisted that “Russia is trying to move the boundaries of the post-World War II Europe,” evidenced by its annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
Albright went on to say that she never saw Sanders in foreign policy briefings on Capitol Hill — either when he was in the House of Representatives, coinciding with her tenure at the UN and State Department, or the Senate.
“Unless he looked totally different at the time, he has never been to any briefing whether when I was UN ambassador or secretary of state or since then,” she claimed. “It’s not his thing.”