Members of the press asked the State Department Tuesday about Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s attendance at former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s 100th birthday party the evening before.
“Obviously there is extensive documentation, associating Kissinger with bombing campaigns in Cambodia and Vietnam and overthrowing democratically elected governments in the developing world and allegedly supporting genocidal policies in Bangladesh, but to be fair to Dr. Kissinger, he was also a key architect of the outreach to China and transformed the U.S. – China relationship,” Washington Post reporter John Hudson said at the press briefing.
“Of course, in this administration, you’ve seen the U.S.-China relationship take a plunge and really have officials questioned the fundamental premises of the U.S.-China relationship. This just has me sort of curious, what does Secretary Blinken like about him?” Hudson asked State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel.
Hudson also noted that Blinken interviewed the former secretary for his thesis when he was a student, adding that it suggested that Blinken had a “long-standing interest” in Kissinger.
Kissinger, who served as secretary of state under former presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, turned 100 years old last month and celebrated his birthday at a party hosted in the New York Public Library on Monday. Patel responded to The Post reporter’s question by maintaining that Blinken attended a private event without expanding on what Blinken liked about Kissinger.
“The point that I’m making is that, one, this was a private event. Two, I’m not going to parse these specific relationships,” Patel said. “The Secretary has a good, cordial relationship with a number of his predecessors and has had the opportunity to engage with them at a number of events over the past two years since Secretary Blinken has been secretary and there is important perspective to be had and gained as it relates to the role, regardless of the very distinct policy differences.”
Vox reporter Jonathan Guyer also caught Blinken outside the library on Monday evening following the event, asking him “What is there to celebrate about Henry Kissinger.” Blinken did not comment.
Source: The Hill