U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is warning of the dangers of authoritarian populism and offering a thinly veiled critique of Donald Trump's prolific use of Twitter, saying it allowed the president-elect to avoid accountability. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday warned of the dangers of authoritarian populism and offered a thinly veiled critique of Donald Trump's prolific use of Twitter, saying it allowed the president-elect to avoid accountability. In his most pointed public comments about Trump since the Nov. 8 presidential election, Kerry also suggested that the president-elect's Cabinet nominees were getting a free pass from Congress for failing to submit tax returns and other documentation before their Senate confirmation hearings. "Every country in the world better ... start worrying about authoritarian populism and the absence of substance in our dialogue," Kerry told a Washington forum. "If policies are going to be made in 140 characters on Twitter, and every reasonable measurement of accountability is being bypassed, and people don't care about it, we have a problem," Kerry said. As an example of the absence of substance in the political debate, he said climate change was given short shrift during the campaign between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He contrasted his own vetting for secretary of state and the paperwork he had to provide with exceptions he said are being made for Trump Cabinet nominees before their confirmation hearings. In December, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker said the panel had not asked Rex Tillerson, Trump's choice for secretary of state, to provide his tax returns, which Corker said was in accordance with precedent. Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive of ExxonMobil Corp, has not submitted tax returns, but his financial disclosure and ethics agreement has been made public. Kerry, a former senator and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee who became President Barack Obama's secretary of state in 2013, said it is "quite amazing when you think the hoops I had to jump through with respect to papers submitted, documentation submitted and tax returns. ... Suddenly that's not as important."