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Hillary Clinton got candid about how she endured the aftermath of the 2016 election and her thoughts on President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office while speaking at the Women in the World New York Summit on Thursday.
Full Frontal host Samantha Bee kicked things off as she introduced Clinton to the stage, admitting to the audience that she still finds the election results hard to accept.
“I should be lauding Hillary for making time to be here despite her busy schedule as president. I should be talking about how she didn’t just shake Angela Merkel’s hand, but hugged her,” Bee said. “Instead, Mr. Trump is nearing his 100th day in office. I assume he will mark it the same way all school children do, by gluing 100 pieces of macaroni to a health care bill.”
She continued, “I’m only going to say this once — though you deserve to hear it 100 times — it should have been you. And you would have made mistakes. And you would have been attacked for doing things that would now seem inconsequential.”
The late-night host quipped that Clinton should have been the subject of all of her talking points for the next four years on Full Frontal, but “now I’m saddled with that pint of flat orange Fanta who gives me way more material than I’d ever want.”
The former secretary of state then took a seat beside New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who opened the conversation by asking her how she’s been spending her days since Trump entered the White House.
“I am doing pretty well, all things considered. The aftermath of the election was so devastating. Everything that has come to light in the days and weeks since have been all so troubling,” Clinton said. “I just had to make up my mind that yes, I was going to get out bed, and yes I was going to go out for long walks in the woods, and spend time with my family.”
She assured the audience, “As a person, I’m OK,” before adding, “As an American, I’m pretty worried.”
Clinton was quick to admit that misogyny undeniably played a role in her loss to Trump, though she acknowledged the fact that her opponent was still able to secure a high percentage of women’s votes.
“I think in this election there was a very real struggle between what is viewed as change that is welcomed and exciting to so many Americans and change which is worrisome and threatening to so many others,” she noted. “And you layer on the first woman president on top of that, and I think some people, women included, had real problems.”
“With men, success and ambition are correlated with likability. With a woman, guess what? It’s the exact opposite.”
But despite the scrutiny she was subjected to during her campaign, Clinton urged young women to fight the odds and pursue careers in politics and public service, offering a word of caution: “Be ready. It is not a new phenomenon, but it feels new and painful every time it happens to you. … Toughen up your skin. Take criticism seriously, but not personally.”
When asked by Kristof about her reaction to the Trump administration’s recent troubles, Clinton made it clear that she doesn’t “take any pleasure in the chaotic functioning [of his administration].”
On Trump’s controversial travel ban and push to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, she added, “I don’t understand the commitment to hurt so many people that this administration, this White House, seems to be pursuing. There are so many examples in just the first 100 days. … The targeting of women, which is what’s going on, is absolutely beyond any political agenda. There’s something else happening here.”
Clinton reiterated that women’s issues are “national security issues” that need to be fairly addressed.
“The things that come out of some of these men’s mouths, like ‘Why do we have to cover maternity care?’ Well, I don’t know, maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception,” she joked to rousing applause from the audience. “And the classic picture of all of the men sitting around the table, deciding how they were going to defund Planned Parenthood, end maternity care, end access for insurance for family planning for contraception — looking at that picture, you just think it’s got to be from a skit from Saturday Night Live. It can’t be true.”
The conversation concluded with Clinton reaffirming that she has no plans to run for office again.
“I am really focused on just doing some things that I think I can make a difference with,” she said of working to support the youth and encouraging other women to seek positions in office. “I have no plans, other than trying to find some interesting things to do” and helping “people live their own lives better.”
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