Clinton Opening Up

Since Election Day 2016, Hillary Clinton has kept a fairly low profile, seeming to prefer focusing on personal and private affairs to any political activity. In fact, she only gave her first interview since the election at the start of April, sitting down with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to discuss what she is doing after the election. Her answers revealed that although she may have accepted the result and moved on since her loss, she is, like many of her fellow Americans, still coming to terms with the ramifications of a Trump presidency.

Two of the main points that Kristof asked Clinton about were the alleged involvement of the Russians in the election and the more general implications of sexism during the campaign. In regard to Russia, Clinton admitted that she “didn’t fully understand how impactful [Russian influence] was.” However, Clinton used the question to deliver a call to action across party lines, urging, “Whatever party you are, whatever business you run, whatever concerns you have, if we don’t take action together to hold whoever was involved accountable, they will be back time and time again.” These words signal Clinton’s view that Russian interference should not be a liberal or conservative issue, but instead a task that American elected officials should face as a united front.

Clinton also responded to questions about sexism during the campaign. She was very blunt with her observations, stating, “It is fair to say that, certainly, misogyny played a role and certainly that has to be admitted.” Although she personally recognized the role of misogyny, it did not make it easier for her to come to terms with her loss; “Why and what the reasons were I’m trying to parse out myself,” she added. This provided a moment of insight into Clinton’s unique role as a former presidential candidate adapting to becoming a private citizen under a sitting president who she had battled on the campaign trail more aggressively than any other presidential campaigns in recent memory. Thus, it makes sense that it would not be a very easy task for Clinton to come to terms with her defeat or simply forget all of the harsh words that were exchanged over the course of a long election cycle.

During the interview, Clinton also took the chance to speak about the Trump administration, and some of the current events taking place such as the crisis in Syria, the current treatment of women after a series of misogynistic remarks from Trump during the campaign, and the blocking of “Trumpcare.” Just as she called politicians to action about the Russians, she also called for action regarding Syria, particularly encouraging those in government to ensure that “people will know they will be held accountable as war criminals as committing crimes against humanity if they engage in these kinds of aggressive violent acts.” Beyond these calls to action, Clinton also reflected on the administration’s actions in the last few months, revealing her dissatisfaction with the policies of the new administration. While discussing the Trumpcare plan, she stated that she believed that none of the politicians “has ever even read the bill, read the law, understood how it worked …They don’t know what to do, and I do admit that was somewhat gratifying.” She also spoke about “the targeting of women,” which she said has left her speechless at times, particularly with some of the quotes that lawmakers have delivered during the healthcare debate. “Why do we have to cover maternity care?” one asked, to which Clinton replied “Oh, I don’t know … maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception?”

Clinton’s first public interview gave the first real insight into how she is adjusting after the 2016 election. Although she is still politically opinionated, it seems that she is ready to move on from her time in the political spotlight. When asked about her future plans, she admitted that she is just allowing things to develop, saying that she has “no plans at all other than trying to find some interesting things to do and spend time with my grandchildren, which is a great joy.” She then concluded by remarking that “I am looking at doing interesting things, and I don’t think that will ever include running for office again, as interesting as I find that to be.” So although we may continue to hear from her in interviews, it does not look like Clinton will be taking center stage in relation to President Trump again any time soon.

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