On the day that Donald Trump accepted the resignation of John Bolton, his latest National Security Advisor — or requested, it depending on which person’s story you want to believe — Condoleezza Rice, a former official holding the same position under President George W. Bush, coincidentally turned up on CBS This Morning, sounding a warning about the crises this nation faces under the latest Republican president’s policies.
Rice, who was elevated to Secretary of State later in the Bush administration, seemed to be targeting President Trump directly as she spoke of the problems being caused in America by the growth of nationalist and protectionist sentiments in certain segments of the populace. All of the forces she cited as deeply worrying internal issues for the U.S. were policies typically used to describe the basic tenets of Trumpism — “populism,” “isolationism,” “protectionism,” and “nativism.”
“I’ve seen the return of what I’ve called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” Rice said, evoking the biblical symbols of evil that will herald the end of the world according to the book of Revelations. “Populism, I’ll say nativism, not nationalism, isolationism and protectionism.”
“We did that before. It was the period between World War I and World War II. It led to a Great Depression. It led to a war. And the system we put in place after World War II, of free markets and free trade and kind of global commons that we talk about here, that system worked awfully well. It’s under challenge now,” Rice warned.
It was not just the apocalyptic principles that the Trump administration uses as its political lodestar that former Secretary Rice was concerned about. The harshly divided state of the body politic and the polarization between the main governing parties was equally disturbing to the pre-Trump era Republican luminary.
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“I’m also worried that we’re tearing ourselves apart, and that’s something we have to deal with,” Rice lamented.
Rice’s outspokenness at this juncture is unusual as she has been reluctant to speak out against the Trump administration since his inauguration. Rice left the public sphere to return to academia in 2010 as the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at Stanford University. Last year, however, she told CBS in an earlier interview that she would have preferred that America maintain its participation in the nuclear agreement with Iran that President Trump unilaterally scuttled, even though she downplayed the seriousness of the results of Trump’s ill-advised and one-sided decision.
While relations between the traditional establishment branch of the GOP that Rice is considered to be a part of and the newly ascendant Trumpublicans have been frosty since the beginning of his presidency, the president’s sinking popularity has emboldened his internal Republican opponents to speak more forcefully of late, with both former Congressmen Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh announcing primary challenges to the seemingly vulnerable Trump in recent days.
Condoleezza Rice’s new willingness to call out the evils of the Trump doctrine is a sure sign of how quickly at least some in the GOP are eager to be rid of his influence on the party going forward.
You can watch a video of Condoleezza Rice’s appearance on CBS This Morning in the clip below.
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Original reporting by John Bowden at The Hill.