If Trump Wins Election 'All Bets Are Off' for America's Future: John Kerry

Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has warned that "all bets are off" if President Donald Trump wins another election, suggesting that a second term of Trump would do enormous damage to America's global standing and ability to lead on the world stage.

Speaking during the Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2020—which is being held virtually due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic—Kerry told attendees he still believes American can regain its position as a world leader, but only if former Vice President Joe Biden wins the November election.

"I believe that we're going to have a new president," Kerry said referring to the coming election. Kerry served in the Obama-Biden administration as secretary of state, and was influential in its key foreign policy achievements—including the Iran nuclear deal.

Kerry has made no secret of his disdain for the Trump administration, and said on Friday that under the current president the U.S. has succeeded in "literally alienating itself from our friends."

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Trump has often maligned America's traditional allies and pursued better relations with autocrats long considered U.S. adversaries. The current administration has also broken away from multilateral agreements and projects, seeking to forge its own path.

Trump's presidency "has made the world a more dangerous place, without any question," Kerry said, pointing to the collapsing Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, and the "fake trade war" Trump started with China, "which has raised prices for people and discombobulated the entire trade scheme."

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Kerry also condemned Trump's efforts to build a closer relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to the point that he sided with the Kremlin over the U.S.' own intelligence agencies when officials identified Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"We've seen things that none of us literally would ever have believed we could have seen or heard from any administration, Republican or Democrat alike," Kerry said.

Kerry said he was particularly concerned about Trump's apparent deference to Russia and China, the U.S.' two most pressing adversaries.

This week, excerpts from former National Security Advisor John Bolton's new book alleged that Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to interfere in the U.S. election to support his re-election, and that Trump gave tacit approval for China's persecution of Muslim minority groups in the western Xinjiang province.

Trump has pursued a tough stance on China while also lauding his personal friendship with Xi. The president has been particularly aggressive on trade and on the coronavirus pandemic, though initially praised Xi's response and said he was working closely with Beijing. Trump's China-skeptic message is set to feature prominently in his 2020 tilt.

There is growing bipartisan recognition in Washington that China is a problem to be addressed. President Barack Obama announced the U.S. "pivot to Asia" in 2011, but under Trump the rise of China has become impossible for the U.S. to ignore. Already, some commentators are touting a "new Cold War."

Kerry acknowledged that Trump has "defined some of the problems with China" while in power. However, the former diplomat was dismissive of the president's track record. "He has not executed thoughtfully at all, and in fact, we are far worse off today in the relationship with China than we were when he started."

Trump has fallen behind Biden in many opinion polls, though has publicly maintained that he is ahead and confident of re-election. However, the president is battling allegations of corruption and criminality, a crippling economic downturn, nationwide social unrest, and an ongoing pandemic—his response to which has been widely panned.

The New York Times reported this week that the president seems subdued heading into the business end of the campaign, and is refusing to moderate his rhetoric and behavior despite senior aides urging him to do so.

"I think the damn is breaking now," Kerry said of Trump's grip in power. "The latest polls show Vice President Biden well ahead. I don't take anything for granted—I've run for president, I know what happens in the last week and they'll pull out every stop."

"But I am quite confident about America's future, providing we have a change in leadership," Kerry said. "If we don't have a change in leadership, all bets are off on many, many different issues."

Ken Farnaso, the deputy press secretary for Trump's re-election campaign, dismissed Kerry's criticism of the president. "John Kerry's and Joe Biden's records of appeasement were failed experiments in globalism," he said.

"It's comical that same secretary of state that voted for the Iraq War in the Senate, bowed down to the Cuban Castro regime, and negotiated a flawed Iran deal with the supreme leader of Iran has the audacity to criticize President Trump's America First agenda."

This article has been updated to include comment from the Trump 2020 campaign.

Donald Trump, John Kerry, US, Joe Biden
President Donald Trump supporter Randall Thom waves a giant Trump flag to passing cars outside the BOK Center on June 18, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Win McNamee/Getty Images/Getty
If Trump Wins Election 'All Bets Are Off' for America's Future: John Kerry | Politics