Trump and Twitter: Thumbs down from Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice

SAN JOSE — Conducting American diplomacy on Twitter? Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is not a fan.

Turns out, neither is Condoleezza Rice, another former secretary of state who spoke Wednesday in San Jose at the third annual Watermark Conference for Women.

President Donald Trump’s tweets about Mexico have “done damage to America,” Albright said. Last week, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a planned visit to the United States after Trump tweeted that it would be better to skip the meeting if Mexico keeps insisting it will not pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Trump wants built.

Although Rice, a Republican, was less critical of this new presidential administration than Albright was — she did say “thank goodness” she and Albright weren’t in their respective positions “in the time of social media.”

Rice, who served under President George W. Bush, and Albright, who served under Democratic President Bill Clinton, were interviewed on stage by Kara Swisher of tech news site Recode at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Watermark organizers said there were 6,500 in the sold-out audience, which gave Albright and Rice a standing ovation when they were introduced.

Albright and Rice’s sentiments are in line with those of security experts and Americans who have expressed concerns about Trump’s tweeting. Last month, right before Trump’s inauguration, 69 percent of adults polled by the Wall Street Journal and NBC said his use of Twitter was a bad idea. Meanwhile, intelligence and defense specialists worry that his tweets could spark a national security crisis, Politico reported in December.

“Twitter has proved one of the purest distillations of Trump around,” Politico wrote, and foreign governments could analyze tics and patterns in his tweets and try to use them to their advantage.

Albright isn’t too keen on another byproduct of technology, either.

“Technology has completely disaggregated information,” Albright said. She said people no longer go to common sources of information — and truth.



Photo: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, speaks as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright listens during a discussion at the Watermark Conference for Women at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)


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