With President Donald Trump confronting multiple Russia investigations, a stalled legislative agenda, and tense relationships with foreign allies, Carly Fiorina has some sharp words of advice: “Stop tweeting.”
In the latest episode of POLITICO’s “Women Rule” podcast, Fiorina – the former Hewlett-Packard executive-turned-U.S. presidential candidate – called the president’s musings on Twitter both “insulting” and “distracting.”
And she expressed little confidence that Trump will pull back.
“I don’t think he will stop tweeting, unfortunately,” she told POLITICO editor Carrie Budoff Brown, “but I think it’s very destructive.”
Fiorina also said she welcomes the investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller into communications between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials during the campaign.
“We need to get to the bottom of this,” she said. “We need to understand what actually happened, and whatever actually happened, the American people need to believe that we’ve gotten to the bottom of it.”
On “Women Rule,” Fiorina weighed in on a wide array of political topics, but also discussed some deeply personal stories: her first Washington meeting at a strip club in the ‘80s, how she felt responding to Trump’s campaign trail insults of her appearance, and why she abhors the female-centric discussion around the “fear of failure.”
The highlights are below:
2:15: Fiorina weighs in on the U.S. Senate race in Virginia and discusses whether she plans to throw her hat into the ring in a 2018 race that would pit her against Sen. Tim Kaine.
“I continue to look, and continue to consider it, but it’s not a decision that I’ve made,” the former tech executive tells Women Rule. “And I don’t think it’s a timely decision.”
6:16: Fiorina, who once ran for U.S. Senate in California, details her process in deciding to run for office. She criticized the environment for Republican women as particularly harsh, citing her own experiences on the campaign trail.
“My candidacy was called an offense to women by Emily’s List, because I don’t agree with them on abortion,” she says. “That’s the rhetoric.”
The former Republican presidential candidate gives credit to Hillary Clinton despite their policy differences, calling her “incredibly hard-working,” “focused,” and “disciplined.”
12:37 Fiorina recalls facing off against Trump on the debate stage after he made derogatory comments about her appearance.
“Maybe because I have been in a man’s world for so long, it wasn’t particularly surprising to me,” she says of Trump’s comments. And when it came to responding to then-candidate Trump during a Republican primary debate, Fiorina remembers that “what made me feel good was the audience applauded.”
17:04 The former HP executive gives her assessment of Trump’s presidency so far – and offers a few words of advice for how he should proceed in the coming days.
“Stop tweeting,” Fiorina says. When the president is on Twitter, she continues, “he’s insulting, and I also think he’s distracting.”
Fiorina also says the White House should welcome the Russia investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
“We need to get to the bottom of this,” she emphasizes. “We need to understand what actually happened, and whatever actually happened, the American people need to believe that we’ve gotten to the bottom of it.”
21:17 Are there enough women in Trump’s White House and Cabinet? Fiorina’s response is to point out that “if you look at politics in general, what you would conclude is there aren’t enough women.”
22:51 Fiorina explains why she dislikes the question about overcoming the fear of failure.
“There are very few people who get to be president, and there are tons of people who run, but somehow, when a woman runs, and doesn’t make it — oh my gosh, seeds of doubt and failure,” she says. “I think the way the question is framed is illustrative of the different standard. No one is running around asking Lindsay Graham how he keeps going.”
“I think what we women sometimes perpetuate is we equate failure with making any mistakes, not having universal adulation and acclaim,” Fiorina explains. “Making a mistake is not a failure.”
28:16 Fiorina defends her run at Hewlett-Packard, where she says, “I was fired in large part because I would not compromise my principles. I don’t consider that a failure.”
And of her run for U.S. Senate in California, Fiorina says “there were so many things going on that made that race even harder,” including the death of her daughter and her own cancer diagnosis.
32:20 Fiorina recounts her first business meeting in Washington, D.C as an entry-level sales person for AT&T and the establishment she visited for that meeting: a strip club.
36:43 The former presidential candidate offers some words of wisdom for any women running for office and struggling with fundraising: “Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t try and be cute about it. Say why you’re running for office, and then say, ‘I need your support.’ Donors expect it.”