Condi Rice: Trump Dealing With NKorea in 'His Own Way'
"In his own way, what the president's trying to do is to say to the North Koreans you have no idea how seriously I take this," Rice, 63, who served under former President George W. Bush, told CNN host David Axelrod. "And, by the way, that is not a bad thing.
Trump and Kim have exchanged heated rhetoric in recent months, as the dictator has increased testing of missiles of various range — and a hydrogen bomb in September.
The president has called Kim a "maniac," a "bad dude," mocking him as "short and fat" and slammed him repeatedly as "rocket man."
Kim, on the other hand, has charged that he would "tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire," referring to Trump.
But Trump told The Wall Street Journal Thursday that "I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un."
But asked whether he had spoken to Kim, Trump responded: "I don't want to comment on it.
"I'm not saying I have or haven't. I just don't want to comment."
Rice, now on the Stanford University faculty, told Axelrod that current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was "making progress" with Pyongyang, despite President Trump saying in October that negotiating with the regime was a "waste of time."
"I think he's making progress with North Koreans."
Still, however, Rice said: "I don't think negotiating with the North Koreans right now is going to get us very far."
On the Trump White House's overall foreign policy, she said that "I don't think you have a real consistent message coming out of the administration on some of these important issues.
"It always works better when the secretary of state is the key spokesperson for the American government," she added. "And for the United States of America."
"Circumstances that secretaries of state have not faced before, including a president who's never been anywhere near the government before.
"Never even sniffed the government," she added. "So, I think it's different."
Regardless, Rice said that she would not advise President Trump to tweet — particularly when he is under fire.
"I would advise the president not to use Twitter in this way," she told Axelrod. "I would say to the president, 'Mr. President, not every slight has to be answered.'"