The Slatest

Sanders Slams Clinton for Praising Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger and Hillary Clinton at a State Department event in Washington, D.C., on April 20, 2011, while Clinton was Secretary of State.

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton wrote a book last year in which she praised former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, specifically citing him for “respecting national sovereignty” and supporting “participatory and democratic systems of governance.” Those were strange things to say given Kissinger’s role in sabotaging Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam peace talkssecretly bombing Cambodia, and overthrowing democratically elected Chilean leader Salvador Allende, among other things, and at Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Wisconsin Bernie Sanders attacked Clinton in harsh terms on the subject: 

The transcript:

The secretary and I have a very profound difference. In the last debate and I believe in her book, very good book by the way, in her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. 

Now, I find it rather amazing because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger, and in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia when the United States bombed that country, and created the instability for the Khmer to come in, who butchered generations of people—one of the worst genocides in the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.

Clinton, who cited Kissinger’s praise of her tenure at State in last week’s New Hampshire debate, responded that Kissinger was only one of many people she takes advice from and that his work in opening the U.S.’s relationship with China was a historically important success. (Sanders then said that trade with China has caused unemployment in the U.S. before closing his remarks on the subject with the assertion that Kissinger is “not my kind of guy.”)

Read more Slate coverage of the Democratic primary.