Breaking her more than 250-day press conference drought with a Thursday morning presser, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump’s praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin “unpatriotic and insulting.”
Trump heaped praise on Putin during the NBC News Commander-In-Chief forum on Wednesday night, saying he is a “far more” capable leader than President Barack Obama and slamming the “embarrassing” U.S. military leadership.
Clinton told reporters on the tarmac in White Plains, New York that Trump took the “astonishing step of suggesting that he prefers the Russian president to our American President” with his remarks.
“Now, that is not just unpatriotic and insulting to the people of our country as well as to our commander-in-chief, it is scary,” she said. “Because it suggests he will let Putin do whatever Putin wants to do and then make excuses for him.”
Clinton also used the press conference to announce she would convene a bipartisan meeting of national security leaders and experts on Friday, including former secretaries of homeland security Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, former CIA acting director Michael Morell, and former NATO commander James Stavridis.
Clinton emphasized she would make hunting down Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to “send a message that no one directs or inspires attacks against the United States and gets away with it.”
The press conference, announced with about an hour’s notice, was widely viewed as Clinton’s effort to reshape the narrative about her performance at the forum, which offered a preview of the first general election presidential debate in September.