In an interview with New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof on Thursday, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton mentioned four primary reasons why she lost to President Trump: Russian involvement in the election, widespread misogyny amongst citizens and politicians alike, FBI director James Comey’s surprise report in October of 2016, and WikiLeaks of her campaign chairman John Podesta’s e-mails.
The words she shared in New York City at the eighth annual Women in the World Summit mark her first public interview since the election. She started off by expressing her discouragement at the outcome of Trump’s victory:
“You know, the aftermath of the election was so devastating, and everything that has kind of come to light in the days and weeks since have been also troubling. So I just had to make up my mind that, yes, I was going to get out of bed, and, yes, I was going to go for a lot of long walks in the woods, and I was going to see my grandchildren a lot and spend time with my family and my friends who have rallied around me in an amazing way.”
She seems to have gotten past the initial defeat for the most part and is even working on a new book that will go in depth on what she believes were the reasons for the election’s turnout.
Looking back, one of the main factors for her loss in this year’s race, Clinton cites, is the Vladimir Putin’s personal meddling in the election. Evidence was uncovered that the Russian leader had a major hand in leaked material from the Democrats, personal involvement that goes beyond what Russia should have the power to do. The country openly opposed Clinton during the election and seemed to be okay with crossing lines to ensure Trump would take office.
Talking about Russia’s influence in her campaign, Clinton expressed grave concern and worry for the country. She believes American forces as a whole need to come together to investigate, regardless of partisan involvement:
“I think what was done to us was an act of aggression… I think what Putin wanted to do was sow distrust and confusion as well as influence in our election.”
She claimed that Russian involvement like this will not just dissolve until the U.S. takes action against it.
She also credits much of her unpopularity to American misogyny. She did not express many surprises when Kristof brought the subject to light:
“It is fair to say… that certainly misogyny plays a role.”
She is not sure the direct reasons for the prejudiced mindset of Americans, but she does sense a “change” in the country’s environment that, she believes was too much for citizens to handle on top of electing the first woman president. This won’t hold her back from her passion for raising up strong women. Moving forward, she plans to stick to her confidence:
“I’m going to spend a lot of my time encouraging young people, particularly young women to go into politics, to go into public service… We really need you.”
She intends to work with organizations that equip young people to enter into her world. She even gave advice to those taking the brave step into politics:
“Toughen up your skin. Take criticism seriously, not personally.”
James Comey’s controversial actions in October, according to Clinton, were another hindrance to her success. The FBI director released a surprising statement just two weeks before the election about the Bureau’s decision to investigate Clinton’s emails for classified material.
The response to the statement blew up on Twitter, calling it a “reopened” case against Clinton. Congressman Paul Ryan released his own personal statement the morning of Comey’s announcement:
BREAKING NEWS → The FBI is reopening its investigation into Secretary Hillary Clinton.
My full statement ⇩ pic.twitter.com/LHfyg46dWk
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) October 28, 2016
She believed this threw a huge and almost unfair stumbling block in her journey, stirring unmerited public suspicions against her.
Adding onto the series of breached information that so plagued Clinton’s campaign was her former chairman’s leaked emails. WikiLeaks of John Podesta’s personal emails played a huge role in the election results, according to Clinton. She believes this scandal coupled with James Comey’s report “had the determinative effect.”
In spite of the uproar, Comey revealed two days before Americans would cast their ballots that none of the emails investigated were worthy of criminal charges, and NBC reported that the emails reviewed were actually copies of emails that the FBI had examined in the previous case.
When questioned about the current state of the U.S., Clinton expressed her disappointment about the way things have unfolded in the White House since inauguration day:
“As a person, I’m okay. As an American, I’m pretty worried.”
She disagrees with recent decisions on immigration, healthcare, and foreign policy.
I don’t understand the commitment to hurt so many people that this administration, this White House, seems to be pursuing.
She wrapped up by expressing unmasked distaste at ever trying again for public office:
I’m looking at doing interesting things. I don’t think that will include ever running for office again.
Clinton has not set definitive plans for the future, but she has a passion for making a difference in whatever way she can. She believes there is still much she can do to fight for young people, women’s rights, and the return of Democratic influence to the government.
Credit: NBC News