Former Bush ally: Trump puts Americans first

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In a Wednesday interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that President Trump might sound different than other presidents, but he is focused on American interests and values.

“I believe every president of the United States stands for our values,” said Rice, who served in the George W. Bush administration as secretary of State and national security advisor. “You heard President Trump say, for instance, after the Syrian chemical attack, we can’t let that stand. What he was saying was the president of the United States can’t let that stand.”

Rice spoke from the sidelines of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit at the Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois, asserting that Trump recognizes the importance of alliances. Rice expects him to establish strong relationships with countries around the world.

“While the language may be different, and we might talk about needing to deal with policy, I think you’re going to see … that Americans’ interests and values are always linked,” Rice said. “It’s early days in this administration. Let’s remember that.”

Rice also addressed the United States’ vulnerability to cyber attacks, claiming that Russia, in the context of election interference, should be viewed as a “hostile power.”

Rice contends that the Trump administration faces a conundrum since they want a decent relationship with Moscow, yet “any interference in our election has to be investigated — and not just investigated to see what happened but to see how it doesn’t happen again.”

While voicing confidence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ability to conduct a fair investigation, Rice contended that “in the meantime, we need to go about the business of governing because that’s really what the American people want.”

Rice touched on the topic of North Korea, saying that “While Kim Jong Il was a dictator, and someone that we couldn’t ultimately do a deal with” in the George W. Bush administration, “we have to worry that Kim Jong Un might be even more reckless than his father was.”

“I do have regrets that we weren’t able to stop” North Korea’s nuclear ambitions “more forcefully,” Rice said of her tenure as secretary of State.

Rice added that she has confidence in current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, asserting that Trump and Tillerson have a “very good” relationship despite recent media reports claiming otherwise.

Rice championed former Exxon Mobil CEO Tillerson’s selection as the nation’s top  diplomat, declaring that an “oilman knows the world like others don’t.”

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