Kerry: Trump rhetoric is dividing our country

Kerry: Trump rhetoric is dividing our country
© Francis Rivera

Former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryOvernight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate John Kerry calls out lack of climate questions at debate Democrats' debate divisions open the race to new (or old) faces MORE said Wednesday in Colorado that President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE’s rhetoric is dividing the country.

Interviewer Andrea Mitchell, speaking to Kerry at the Aspen Ideas Festival, referenced Trump’s use of the words “infest” and “invade” when referring to undocumented immigration. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"You cannot build the consensus you need in our country," Kerry said of Trump's language, according to The Aspen Times. "The increased polarization obviously increases populism, nationalism."

The longtime Massachusetts senator and the former chief diplomat under President Obama appeared at the event hosted this week by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.

Kerry said Trump often misleads the American public by conflating undocumented immigrants to the MS-13 gang, according to The Aspen Times.

"He is distorting the truth when he says MS-13 is coming over here when in fact, people are coming here to run away from MS-13," Kerry said.

The U.S. is not intervening in the conflicts arising in Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that are contributing to the migrant crisis, Kerry reportedly said. 

Trump and Kerry have often clashed over the Trump administration’s foreign policy issues. 

Kerry was reportedly fielding private meetings and phone calls in the months leading up to Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal — something Trump said was hurting the country. 

“If your house is burning down, do you say to the fire department, ‘Don’t put the fire out, because it may burn down again in 15 years?’” he asked at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “That’s where we were with Iran. We put out the fire. And Trump has lit the fire again.”

Kerry also took jabs at Trump’s Twitter habit, according to The Atlantic

“We’ve got to stop the day-to-day bloviating over our dislike of the daily tweets and all the problems that we see and start connecting to Americans,” Kerry said.

Trump has executed a “hostile takeover of the Republican Party” that has left Americans on all sides fed up. 

“The test for all of us is whether we can put together the kind of door-to-door, grass-roots, energized political effort that bring real solutions to real problems that affect people’s lives and bring Americans back together again,” Kerry said.

Removing Trump from office in 2020 is not the top political priority, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee said.

“There’s one thing that matters today — winning control of the United States Congress in 2018,” he said.