Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that while she disagrees with a lot of the “divisive” language used by President Trump about immigrants and race, she thinks the issue comes from both sides of the aisle and is more a “national project” than a White House one.
“There clearly is some divisive language, and there is some language that calls up old ghosts that we ought to leave buried,” the former secretary of state said of Mr. Trump during an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
Mr. Zakaria brought up Mr. Trump’s past rhetoric on the deadly Charlottesville protests and when he told Democratic congresswomen of color to fix the “crime-infested places” they came from. The CNN host compared the president’s language to that of Ms. Rice’s former boss, President George W. Bush.
“The way [Mr. Bush] talked about Islam after 9/11 was so thoughtful in trying to not demean Islam as a religion,” Mr. Zakaria said. “When you hear Trump, this is the repudiation of everything you and Bush were trying to do.”
Ms. Rice responded, “Look, the president needs to be a lot more careful in the way he speaks about these things because race is a very delicate and raw nerve in America. We have a birth defect of slavery, we have a birth defect of a number of people being treated badly, so you have to be careful.
“But I’ll tell you, Fareed, it’s not all coming out of the White House,” she continued. “I hear a lot coming out of the left on these issues, too, that I don’t like the language that is used about people — the notion that because somebody looks a certain way or is of a certain color, they ought to think a certain way, and if they don’t think a certain way, then they’re really not black.”
Ms. Rice cited the “Golden Rule” and stated that everyone would be “better off” if they treated each other with respect.
“I think this is a national project, not a White House project,” she said. “I have said and I think everybody understands that I don’t like a lot of the language that this president uses. I especially don’t like the language about immigrants, because in so many ways immigrants are an easy target. But the reason that I emphasize all of our responsibilities is if we just point fingers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we’re not going to solve this problem.”
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