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“I really tried to get out of going,” the former presidential candidate revealed during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show Friday.
After explaining that it’s “tradition” for former presidents and first ladies to attend a presidential inauguration to show “support” and “continuity of our government,” Clinton admitted that she and former president Bill Clinton hoped others wouldn’t go as an excuse to skip the ceremony.
“We thought, ‘Okay, maybe others aren’t going.’ So we called the Bushes and the elder Bushes were in the hospital, which I think was legitimate,” Clinton explained, unable to hold her laughter.
After they were told the Bushes and Carters were attending, however, Clinton said that that was the deciding factor in their dilemma: “Bill and I looked at each other and said, ‘Well, we gotta go.”
Although hesitant to attend, Clinton admitted that she had high hopes for the ceremony, but left disappointed.
“I try to describe in the book what that felt like because I didn’t know what to expect. What I wanted to have happen was, despite the kind of campaign he ran, I wanted him to rise to the occasion of being our president and being the president for everybody, not just people who supported him. That didn’t happen,” Clinton explained.
“I was sitting next to George W. Bush and Bill was on my other side and we were listening to this really dark, divisive speech that I describe as a ‘cry from the white nationalist gut,’” Clinton added. “I was so disappointed. Really so, so sad that it wasn’t an outreach.”
Viewing Trump’s initial presidential speech as a “narrowing and a hammering of what he had said before,” Clinton remembers the comment Bush was overheard saying.
“It’s reported that at the end, George W. Bush says, ‘That was some weird s—,'” Clinton said, laughing at the recollection.
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