The former secretary of state, 70, didn’t mince her words when she spoke about the Russian president, 65, during a panel at The Wing, a workspace for women, in New York City on Tuesday night.
Clinton told those in attendance Putin was “a world-class misogynist” who used fear tactics against women.
The Russian leader took satisfaction in intimidating people, she told the audience, using the example of when Putin and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in Sochi, Russia, in January 2007.
“Angela Merkel came to visit him and he knew the intelligence and he knew that Angela Merkel was afraid of dogs,” Clinton said, causing the audience of women to murmur.
“So, you have these one-on-one meetings. All of a sudden, while the press is still there, this very large black dog came into the room,” she continued. “It was meant to intimidate and embarrass Angela Merkel, who is one of the really great European leaders [of] post World War II.”
Clinton added, “And he took joy in that. He just… is like that.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has consistently praised Putin, even going so far as to invite him to the White House, despite Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Associated Press.
- Want to keep up on the latest from PEOPLE? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our best stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
In 2014, Merkel told the New Yorker that she knew why Putin had let his dog into their meeting room.
“I understand why he has to do this — to prove he’s a man. He’s afraid of his own weakness,” she said. “Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.”