Hillary Clinton had a lot to say when she sat down with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show Tuesday night, and when the chat involved foreign relations and Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election, she had an anecdote or two to share about Vladimir Putin.
“He really doesn’t like democracy. He thinks it’s an inconvenient, messy process,” she said of the Russian leader. “And he doesn’t like us. He wants to destabilize our country, sow doubt about our democracy. … He wants to undermine how we see each other.”
Beyond America itself, the What Happened author explained that part of his apparent personal problem with her lies in “the role [she] played as secretary of state, which he morphed into a grudge” against her.
“I would say things like, ‘The Russian people deserve to have free and fair elections. They deserve democracy,'” she said. “I don’t take it personally. I think it’s part of his world view, which is all tied up with his anger, his disappointment in the collapse of the Soviet Union and his feeling that we’re his No.1 rival.”
“I see it as I was doing my job, I was honored to be doing my job, to stand up and speak out on behalf of American values and our democracy,” she continued, adding that Putin didn’t like her “partly because I’m a woman, which does seem to get him a bit agitated.” At this, the studio audience cheered.
Some of the ways that Clinton said Putin showed his dislike for her were subtle, but clear.
“There’s an expression, we certainly know it in New York, it’s called manspreading,” she said. “And every time I met with him, it would be [slouches on the couch], OK? The whole deal.”
Clinton also recalled how one time, while meeting at Putin’s dacha outside Moscow, talk turned to wildlife conservation. “He came alive,” she said of the usually “bored guy in the back of the room” demeanor of the Russian leader.
After taking the then Secretary of State through a series of hallways to a large inner sanctum with a huge map of Russia, Putin pointed to a number of locations throughout the country where he had gone to tag polar bears.
“Then he said to me, ‘Would your husband like to come?'” Clinton recalled. “And I said, ‘Well, I’ll ask him, but if he’s busy, I’ll go.'”
Watch more of Clinton and Colbert’s exchange in the video above.