Hillary Clinton told a receptive audience over the weekend in India that while she thought President Donald Trump played to some of Americans’ worst fears, he does not reflect the country as a whole.
“No, we did not deserve that,” Clinton said when asked if the US “deserves” Trump as its leader.
Clinton called the 2016 presidential race the “first reality TV campaign,” and said Trump, as a bombastic “reality TV candidate,” was able to win over enough of the audience to win the election.
And in comments seized on by the Republican National Committee, Clinton said she had won sections of the country with more economic output and attributed some of Trump’s insurgent victory to a series of social and economic anxieties and discriminatory attitudes among his supporters.
“I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product,” Clinton said. “So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards. You know, you didn’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs, you don’t want to, you know, see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are, whatever your problem is, I’m going to solve it.”
Clinton said there is “the phenomenon of disappointment” about economic outcomes, particularly after the 2008 financial crisis, one of three main areas where she said she sees Americans’ fears play out.
Second, she pointed to “a reaction to advancing opportunities and rights for other groups,” citing advancements for African-Americans, the LGBT community and women – and said the third area was “the reaction against immigrants.”
As for Trump’s conduct on the international stage, Clinton pointed to the President’s “affinity for dictators,” including Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But when asked if the Russians have anything compromising on Trump, Clinton said, “We’ll find out. Follow the money.”
She made clear later in the discussion that she did not know where the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election meddling and possible coordination with Trump’s team is likely to lead.
“Whether or not it affects him or just people around him, nobody knows,” Clinton said.