Madeleine Albright: Trump Is ‘Most Anti-Democratic Leader’ in American History

Madeleine Albright / Getty Images
April 4, 2018

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright threw jabs at President Donald Trump, calling him the "most anti-democratic leader" in America’s history, during an interview published by NPR on Tuesday.

Albright, who served as secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton, sat down with NPR to promote her upcoming book, Fascism: A Warning. In the interview, Albright opined about how she believes the United States has receded from the world since Trump took office.

"We're not fulfilling the role that we're supposed to,"Albright said. "I see it as the most unbelievable step backwards, because I do believe that the United States is stronger when we have friends and allies to deal with the various issues."

Albright’s book discusses the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy during the early 20th century before segueing into an examination of today’s authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe, North Korea, Africa, Turkey, and Russia. During the interview, the former secretary of state stated she wanted the book to serve as a warning for countries with long traditions of freedom and democracy.

"Part of the reason for writing [the book] is to say that, in fact, this can happen in countries that have democratic systems," she said. "That's what's so worrisome, is that fascism can come in a way that it is one step at a time, and in many ways, goes unnoticed until it's too late."

Even though the book is written mainly as an observation about political ideologies abroad, America and Trump were not far from Albright’s mind.

During the interview, Albright called Trump "the most anti-democratic leader that I have studied in American history."

Albright pointed to the president’s efforts to "undermine the press" and his "disdain for the judiciary … the electoral process and minorities" as proof he has "anti-democratic" tendencies.

"What he's trying to do is undermine the press and [he] has disdain for the judiciary, and the electoral process and minorities, and I think that his instincts are not ones that are democratic," Albright said.

Albright said the president was focused on the issues that serve to divide rather than unite the country. The former secretary of state wants her new book to serve as a public rebuke of Trump.

"He is interested ... in exacerbating those divisions ... I've picked up that phrase ‘see something, say something,’ and I am seeing some things that are the kinds of things that we have seen in other countries," Albright said. "So I am saying not only should we say something, but we have to do something about it."

Toward the end of the interview, Albright did admit that she found American democracy to be "resilient"; however, she expressed concern the majority of citizens are taking democracy and its resiliency for granted.

"I believe very much that democracy in the United States is resilient [and] that people can be skeptical about things that are going on, but I really am afraid that we are taking things for granted."