In a derisive paragraph in her new book, What Happened, released by Simon & Schuster Tuesday, Clinton describes Vladimir Putin "manspreading" in high-level meetings. She gets straight to the point: "He looked more like one of those guys on the subway who imperiously spread their legs wide, encroaching on everyone else's space, as if to say, "I take what I want," she writes of sitting near Putin in meetings.
"Manspreading" is annoying, but innocuous, right? Not so much, says Clinton. Manspreading is a symptom of overbearing and toxic masculinity, not just an annoying behavior, she asserts. It's akin to saying "'I have so little respect for you that I'm going to act as if I'm lounging at home in my bathrobe,'" Clinton goes on to write. "They call it "manspreading." That was Putin."
Clinton goes on to link behaviors like "manspreading" to Putin's "over-the-top macho theatrics and baroque violence," writing, "I've dealt with a lot of male leaders in my life, but Putin is in a class by himself." Here, Putin's insistence on taking up space for the sake of taking of space, and with the emphasis of his own "macho theatrics," becomes something darker. "A public inquiry in the United Kingdom concluded that he probably approved the killing of one of his enemies in London by poisoning his tea with polonium-210," Clinton goes on to assert. (This is true.)
Putin's swagger about his own masculinity is also apparent in the way he treats women, Clinton asserts in What Happened. "After I criticized one of his policies, he told the press, ‘It’s better not to argue with women,’ but went on to call me weak. ‘Maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman,’ he joked," she writes.
"Hilarious," she adds drily.
As one of the highest-ranking female officials to ever represent the United States — Clinton served as secretary of state for Obama's first term in office — Clinton was a "double problem" for Putin, she writes. “Putin doesn’t respect women and despises anyone who stands up to him, so I’m a double problem."
Meanwhile, here's Trump talking about Putin in 2013.
At the third presidential debate, Clinton described Trump as a "puppet" for Putin.
"No puppet!" Trump responded. "You're the puppet."