Former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said she thinks it is “vital” that President Donald Trump be impeached, but stopped short of calling for his removal from office and did not rule out voting for him again in 2020.
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO told CNN on “Boss Files with Poppy Harlow” that she sees the President’s conduct as impeachable and “destructive to the republic.”
“I think it is vital that he be impeached,” Fiorina said. But whether Trump should be removed from office, Fiorina said, “this close to an election, I don’t know.”
House Democrats last week unveiled the two articles of impeachment they prepared against Trump after a two-and-a-half month investigation into his pressure on Ukraine to investigate his 2020 political rival Joe Biden as well as conspiracy theories about foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election. The full House will vote on the articles this week.
In 2016, there was speculation Fiorina was under consideration for a Cabinet position in the Trump administration. She met with Trump in Trump Tower shortly after he was elected, and a senior transition official told CNN at the time that the two were meeting to discuss the Director of National Intelligence position. Fiorina told Harlow for “Boss Files” that no specific position was discussed during that meeting.
After dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination in 2016, Fiorina said she did vote for Trump in 2016, citing her disapproval of then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but since then she has been “bitterly disappointed.” But when asked whether she would vote for Trump in next year’s presidential election, Fiorina did not rule out voting for him again.
“It depends who the Democrats put up,” she said.
Fiorina condemned Trump’s attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a decorated veteran who is the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert and testified before House impeachment investigators.
“Some of this conduct, like publicly berating a decorated war veteran who shows up in response to a lawfully issued subpoena of Congress, I think that conduct is not just unbecoming, I think it’s destructive to our republic,” Fiorina said.
Fiorina faced her own share of attacks from Trump during the 2016 Republican primary.
In a September 2015 Rolling Stone interview, Trump mocked Fiorina’s looks and said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” Trump later said he was talking about her persona, not her appearance.
Fiorina responded the following week at a CNN debate, and said, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”
Fiorina told Harlow on “Boss Files” that Trump has “undoubtedly done some of the right things,” and praised him for his role in strengthening the economy. But, she said, “I do think that the systematic tearing down of people, institutions, political opponents, will have long-lasting damage if it goes on for much longer.”
Fiorina told CNN she does not know whether she would run for president again. At the moment, she said she doesn’t think that running as a Republican is something she has interest in.
She said the Republican Party “right now seems to be all about pledging fealty to Donald Trump no matter what. And I’m just not in that place.”
When asked about why there are so few Republican women in Congress, Fiorina said she believes the GOP has sent a message to women in the US that they don’t value or respect them.
“I think there is a reason why women, people of color, young people, don’t feel affinity for the Republican Party. It’s because the brand, the way business has been conducted, sends a message: we don’t value you, and we don’t respect you,” Fiorina said.
“Now, I say that as a proud pro-life woman,” Fiorina continued. “It’s not about pro-life or pro-choice. It’s about how women and people of color and young people are addressed, are sought out or not. By the same token, the reason Democrats lost in 2016 is there was a swath of people who felt disrespected and devalued.”
“Politics is personal, so it starts with a real fundamental ‘Do I feel like you personally respect me?’ and until Republicans decide that that’s a problem, it’s not going to get better,” Fiorina said.
Fiorina also weighed in on the 2020 election and contrasted former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg against Trump, praising Bloomberg as someone who “actually knows something about running an organization,” unlike Trump, she said.
She said Bloomberg’s vulnerability is that people think the billionaire is trying to “buy the office, and people resent that, I think.” Bloomberg has outspent all of his Democratic rivals on TV ads, spending more than $100 million.
Fiorina was the first woman to head a Fortune 50 company and a company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average when she became CEO and president of Hewlett-Packard in 1999. She was later forced out by the company’s board after engineering a controversial merger that did not produce the shareholder returns or profits Fiorina had promised and resigned in 2005.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to accurately reflect that Carly Fiorina was the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 company when she became CEO and president of Hewlett-Packard.