Hillary Clinton said Monday on Bloomberg News that President Donald Trump has "tendencies toward authoritarianism," adding that she hopes he has not "ordered the killing of people and journalists" as Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of doing.
During a conversation with Charlie Rose, she compared Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose relationship with Trump has particularly drawn scrutiny from Democrats and the media. Clinton discussed her ideas on Trump's view of democracy, saying she "hopes" the president is not exactly like Putin in every way.
"I don’t think he really values democracy, Charlie," Clinton said.
"He doesn’t value democracy? Rose asked. "So he’s not a ‘democrat,’ little ‘d?'"
Clinton replied, "No, he’s not, he’s a top-down guy."
"He’s an authoritarian?" Rose asked.
"He has tendencies toward authoritarianism," Clinton answered.
"So, he’s no different than Putin?" Rose asked.
Clinton did not say Trump was different from the Russian autocrat, instead saying he "hopefully" does not commit the same crimes as Putin.
"Well, hopefully he hasn’t ordered the killing of people and journalists and the like," Clinton replied.
Putin’s government uses strict regulation and state power to restrict press freedom, and reports have shown cases where journalists, who had been critical of the Russian leader, died under suspicious circumstances. Clinton may have been referring to stories published in outlets such as the New Yorker, New York Times, and National Review that assign guilt to Putin in those cases.
During her campaign, Clinton frequently took digs at Trump’s statements about Putin, in which he called for improved relations with Russia. Clinton tried to do the same thing as secretary of state in the Obama administration, but she has since moved from that dovish position.
Since losing the 2016 election, she has said Trump likely colluded with the Russians to win the presidential election.
"There certainly was communication and there certainly was an understanding of some sort," she said in an interview earlier in September.
Clinton’s appearance on "Charlie Rose" coincides with the recent release of her campaign book, What Happened. In the book, she called Trump a "creep" and described Russian involvement as a major reason why she unfairly lost the election.