In the nearly five months since the 2016 presidential election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has kept a relatively low profile. On Thursday, she gave her first interview.
In a candid sit-down with Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times at the annual Women in the World Summit, the twice-elected U.S. senator and former secretary of state touched on everything ranging from the role Russia played in the election to whether she plans on running for office again.
On the aftermath of the election, coping with loss, and deciding to move forward:
“I’m doing pretty well, all things considered. The aftermath of the election was so devastating, and everything that has 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. … So, I’m OK. I will put it this way: as a person, I’m OK; as an American, I’m pretty worried.”
On what it was like to be the first woman nominated by a major party only to lose to a man who bragged about sexual assault:
“Certainly, misogyny played a role. I mean, that just has to be admitted. And why and what the underlying reasons were is what I’m trying to parse out myself.”
“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. And you layer on the first woman president over that and I think some people, women included, had real problems.”
On double standards and why young women shouldn’t give up:
“We need more young people, and we particularly need young women. … With men, success and ambition are correlated with likability, so the more successful a man is, the more likable he is. With a women, it’s the exact opposite.”
On why Congress should think twice before gutting women’s health care:
“‘Why do we have to cover maternal care?’ Well, I don’t know, maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception?” she joked.
“This is in our national security interest,” she added later, stressing the importance of making sure women have access to reproductive health care around the world. “The more we support women, the more we support democracy.”
On one of her favorite memes in the post-election world:
She thought the photo of men discussing how they planned to obliterate women’s health care was pretty ridiculous, too.
On criticism coming from supporters or detractors:
“Toughen up your skin. Take criticism seriously, but not personally. … I am always open to people saying, ‘Oh, you should have done that.’ Sometimes I don’t know how to fix what they’re concerned about, but I try. So I take it seriously, but I don’t any longer … take it personally. Because part of the attacks, the personal attacks, part of the bullying, part of the name-calling that has certainly become much more pervasive because of the internet, is to crush your spirit and to make you feel inadequate; to make you doubt yourself. And I just refuse to do that.”
Finally, on whether she’ll ever run for office again:
“I am looking at doing interesting things. I don’t think that will include ever running for office again. … I think there are lots of ways to make a difference, to work in all sectors of our society the for-profit, the not-for profit looking for ways that you can help people live their own lives better, tell their own stories better. … I am committed to the unfinished business of the 21st century: the rights of women and girls.”