There are moments when it is downright embarrassing!’ US Secretary of State John Kerry blasts Trump and Clinton’s race for the White House as ‘humiliating’ for America
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s presidential race has humiliated America on the world stage, US Secretary of State John Kerry said today.
In an astonishing intervention during a visit to London today, Mr Kerry said the election has been ‘difficult for our country’s perception abroad’.
He added: ‘There are moments when it is downright embarrassing’.
Mr Kerry, who ran as the Democratic party’s presidential candidate in 2004, appeared to criticise Hillary Clinton as he expressed frustration at the failure of the presidential debates to focus on ‘real issues’.
He made the remarks despite his audience of 16-17-year-old students being warned that there were ‘strict rules’ around what he could talk about in relation to the presidential election.
The outspoken comments from the Democrat will alarm Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which has been rocked by her latest email scandal.
The FBI was given a warrant last night to start reading the emails from her close aide Huma Abedin in an investigation into whether Ms Clinton breached the law by using a private server during her time as Secretary of State.
But Mr Kerry insisted she will not be ‘knocked off course’ in the final days before next week’s election.
He had a series of meetings with key figures in London today, including crucial talks about the Libya crisis hosted by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
He later received a high profile prize from the influential foreign affairs think tank Chatham House for his success in signing the nuclear deal with Iran earlier this year, sharing the award with Iranian foreign minister Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif at an event today.
He also met London Mayor Sadiq Khan and took part in a Q&A with youngsters at City Hall this afternoon.
Asked how the presidential election has impacted on US relations overseas, Mr Kerry said: ‘This election has been difficult for our country’s perception abroad. There are moments when it is downright embarrassing.’
He added that there are ‘times when it steps out of any norm’ he has known.
‘I could never imagine debates that were not focused on real issues,’ he said.
Explaining how the presidential race had hindered his job as he meets counterparts from across the world, Mr Kerry said: ‘The way it’s made it difficult for me is that when you sit down with some foreign minister in another country, or with the president or prime minister of another country, and you say, “Hey, we really want you to move more authoritatively towards democracy”, they look at you … they’re polite, but you can see the question in their head and in their eyes.
‘Or you run in and you say, “By the way, it’s really important you guys get your budget passed”, and I can see the quizzical look at us.’
He added: ‘The last time we passed a budget was I don’t know how many years ago. We do a continuing resolution nowadays. We don’t do the normal process.
‘So this is a difficult moment. But the one thing I would say to you is the great thing about the United States is that it has amazing resiliency. It has an incredible ability to absorb something like this and it will come out and in my judgment it’ll come out stronger.
‘We’ll focus and we’ll know where we’re going and I’m really confident about the longer term future. But sometimes we go through these really rough moments politically and you just have to fight through them.’
He told the London students: ‘I’m not down in my cups about it. I think we’ll turn the corner as long as we’re offering decent alternatives and as long as you are embracing the system an
At the meeting on Libya, Mr Kerry and Mr Johnson were joined by Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and representatives from France, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in London amid deepening international concern about the plight in Libya.
Five years after rebels supported by Western air strikes overthrew the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Mr Serraj’s UN-backed government of national accord is still struggling to impose its authority outside the capital, Tripoli.
Government forces, supported by US warplanes, have been closing in on the key city of Sirte which was seized more than a year ago by Islamic State fighters who took advantage of the continuing chaos.
However much of the rest of the country is in the grip of faction-fighting by rival armed militias while the economy has been hit by the collapse of the oil exports which largely kept it afloat.
d fighting to change it and make it better.’
Diplomats gathered in London were also expected to hold talks in the margins of the main meeting to discuss the continuing crisis in Syria.
Yesterday Mr Kerry said it would be possible to resume peace talks in coming months despite the bitter falling-out between Washington and Moscow.
‘We have a fundamental responsibility to try to push the process forward,’ he said.
‘My hope is that over the course of the next two or two-and-a-half months we might be able to find a way to get to the table and begin some kind of legitimate and long overdue conversation.’
Mr Kerry, who is expected to stand down as US Secretary of State when Barack Obama leaves the White House in January, is also joining London Mayor Sadiq Khan in a discussion with young people on current issues, including climate change and countering violent extremism.