Susan Rice laments the designation of Antifa as a terrorist organization in an interview Sunday on CNN with host Wolf Blitzer.
BLITZER: We haven’t heard from President Trump today, other than a couple of tweets. One tweet going after the news media for fomenting in his words hatred and anarchy, another tweet, the United States of America will be designating Antifa, which is a far left group as a terrorist organization. What does that say to you? RICE: Well, when he goes after journalists, which he does, as you know very well on a daily basis, but does so at a moment when journalists are out on the streets trying to exercise their constitutional rights in keeping the American people informed and they are being attacked themselves by police officers. We just had your colleague on the line who was arrested. We’ve seen local reporters being shot in some of our streets, with rubber bullets and everything else. This is not a moment for a leader to incite violence against the media or violence against peaceful protesters, and you know, to designate Antifa, a terrorist organization, fine, but let’s also talk focus on the rightwing terrorist organizations, the white supremacists that he has called in the past very fine people. We have a problem here, Wolf. We have peaceful protesters focused on the very real pain and disparities that we are all wrestling with that have to be addressed and then we have extremists who have come to try to hijack those protests and turn them into something very different. And they probably also, I would bet based on my experience, I’m not reading the Intelligence today, or these days, but based on my experience, this is right out of the Russian playbook as well, but we can’t allow the extremists, the foreign actors to distract from the real problems we have in this country that are longstanding, centuries-old and need to be addressed responsibly by new leadership. BLITZER: You’re absolutely right on the foreign interference, because we know for decades, the Russians, when it was the Soviet Union, the communist, they’ve oftentimes tried to embarrass the United States by promoting the racial divide in our country, but what you are suggesting, Ambassador is that they’re still trying to do that? Is that what you’re saying? RICE: Well, we see it all the time. We’ve seen it for years, and, frankly, every day on social media, where they take any divisive painful issue whether it is immigration, whether it is gay rights, whether it is gun violence, and always racism, and they play on both sides. Their aim is not simply to embarrass the United States, Wolf. They’re aim is to divide us, to cause us to come into combat with each other. To disintegrate from within, and I would not be surprised to learn that they have fomented some of these extremists on both sides using social media. RICE: I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they are funding it in some way, shape or form, and that is something that we need to take seriously, but we cannot allow it to distract us from the real problem that is an American problem, that we alone can address and we need leadership desperately, Wolf, that doesn’t demonize peaceful protesters from — frankly from Colin Kaepernick to those who have tried peacefully protest in recent days. We need leadership that listens, that understands that these are very real problems that we have to address. And here we are in the middle of a pandemic with over 100,000 Americans have died, many more than needed to die had we had more competent and effective leadership, and yet, we’re not focused and that and we are not focused on the reality that among those 100,000- plus disproportionately were African-Americans and Latinos, people of color. We have real fundamental issues in this country that is long past time we address through new policies that, you know, allow people to have decent jobs with livable wages, real education, real healthcare. Housing that’s, you know, suited for all of us. There’s just a huge amount of work to be done and it’s past time we do it and the only way we’re going to get there is if we have real change in November. BLITZER: Ambassador Susan Rice, thanks very much for joining us. These are awful, awful, such painful times between what we’re seeing on the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, and the coronavirus.