Bill Clinton Explains the Appeal of Donald Trump with the Perfect Backhanded Compliment


Former President Bill Clinton appeared on the Late Show on Tuesday night, where he was asked by host Stephen Colbert to explain the meteoric rises of both Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

While he was quick to tout Sanders’ appeal as resonating with voter frustration that the system is “rigged against them,” Clinton actually had far more to say about his former friend Trump than he did about his wife’s increasingly formidable challenger from Vermont.

“He’s a master brander and he’s the most interesting character out there,” Clinton said of Trump. “And because he said something that overrides the ideological differences.”

“There is a macho appeal to saying, ‘I’m just sick of nothing happening. I’m going to make things happen. Vote for me,'” he added.

This is the second time Clinton has called out Trump for running a political campaign based on branding. Just last week, he hit back at Trump’s insults describing his wife’s tenure as secretary of state as the very “worst in history.”

“Well the thing about branding is, you don’t have to be—you can be fact-free,” Clinton told CNN‘s Erin Burnett.

On Tuesday, Clinton also shut down a previous report citing his influence on Trump making a run for the White House. Watch above.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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