- Screenshot/OZY Fest
- Hillary Clinton described President Donald Trump’s recent summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “alarming on many, many levels.”
- Clinton headlined OZY Fest, a weekend of entertainment and politics, in New York City’s Central Park on Saturday.
- An eclectic line-up of mostly Democratic politicians, pop artists, and Hollywood celebrity-activists, including actress Rose McGowen, New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, and model Naomi Campbell, catered to a largely millennial audience.
Hillary Clinton on Saturday described President Donald Trump’s recent summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin “alarming on many, many levels” and called the secrecy surrounding the president’s one-on-one meeting with the Russian leader “deeply disturbing” during her appearance at a New York City festival on Saturday.
Clinton questioned the president’s motives when he failed to defend the US intelligence community and blamed the US for poor relations with Russia while standing beside Putin at a press conference in Helsinki earlier this month.
“The great mystery is why this president has not spoken up for our country, and we saw this most clearly in this recent meeting with Putin,” Clinton said during a talk with billionaire businesswoman Laurene Powell Jobs.
The former secretary of state said that when she and others, including President Barack Obama, met with Putin, they always had note-takers present to ensure “there’s no mistake about what was said.” The only person in the room with Trump and Putin was a translator.
“This idea that somehow we are not sure where our own president stands is deeply disturbing,” she said, calling Russian interference in the 2016 election a “direct attack on our democracy.”
Clinton added that “we still do not know” what happened in the meeting between the two world leaders and that Putin’s account of their conversation hasn’t been challenged by the Trump administration.
“Putin is basically telling the world what was decided,” Clinton said. “And we’re hearing crickets from the White House. Nothing is being put out that is in any way contradictory or replacing the Putin agenda with whatever Trump was doing.”
Trump’s performance in Helsinki was met with bipartisan condemnation, and even provoked some of his staunchest supporters in conservative media to demand the president correct his statements.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats criticized Trump’s comments, revealed that he wished Trump had not met alone with Putin and was not aware of the president’s plans to invite the Russian leader to Washington this fall, and called Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election “undeniable” during an appearance in Aspen on Thursday.
OZY Fest’s identity crisis
- Eliza Relman/Business Insider
Clinton’s talk took place amid a day of politics and music at OZY Fest, a self-described “part music festival, part TED Talk, part food fair” in Central Park, with an eclectic line-up of mostly Democratic politicians, pop musicians, Hollywood celebrity-activists, and intellectuals.
The third-annual event, put on by the five-year-old digital daily news magazine OZY, has faced ridicule for its apparent identity crisis.
One critic called this year’s event “a weird hot Dada mess of Hillary’s Shadow Government throwing a party at the park.”
Others describe it as New York’s answer to Austin’s South by Southwest.
“In years past, people who purchased a ticket to see Jason Derulo have been totally wowed by Jeb Bush,” festival founder and former MSNBC host Carlos Watson told The Daily News.
Ana Kasparian, a left-leaning political pundit and host of the online news outlet the Young Turks who flew in from Los Angeles to moderate two panels at the festival, called the festival concept “awesome.”
On Saturday, Kasparian moderated a discussion between Grover Norquist, the conservative anti-tax activist, and South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford, who lost his primary to a right-wing challenger last month.
“I like that the discussions don’t have this bloodsport feel to them,” she told Business Insider.
Indeed, Sanford – the former governor of South Carolina and a staunch conservative – encouraged the crowd the keep up the anti-Trump “Resistance.”
“Make noise – it’s the squeaky wheels that get grease in politics,” he said.
After criticizing Trump’s approach to international trade, Norquist also made an attempt to appeal to the millennial crowd. “Come to Burning Man this year!” he called out at the end of the panel. (Sanford and Norquist are two of just four Republicans in the festival’s lineup).
- Eliza Relman/Business Insider
Later on Saturday, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez, interviewed by CNN’s Dana Bash, delivered an optimistic prediction of Democratic success in 2018. Perez declined to estimate the number of seats he thinks Democrats will pick up in the House and Senate this fall, but insisted it would exceed the 23 additional House seats and two additional Senate seats the party needs to win control of both chambers.
Perez called out Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who’s mounting a longshot challenge to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, and added that Mississippi’s Senate race could be important for Democrats.
“Ted Cruz has 100% name recognition and that’s precisely his problem because to know him is to not like him,” Perez said.
The Sunday line-up includes Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, comedians Chelsea Handler and Michelle Wolf, GOP consultant Karl Rove, and Passion Pit.