Hillary Clinton suggested Thursday that the criticism she should “go away” following her election loss to President Donald Trump is based in sexism, arguing that her critics never asked that of losing candidates who are male.
“That began to happen after the election. … I was really struck by how people said that to me – you know, mostly people in the press, for whatever reason — like, ‘Oh, you know, go away, go away,’” Clinton said at an event at Rutgers University.
Ruth Mandel, director of the university’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, had asked Clinton what her response has been to people who call for her “‘get off the public stage and shut up.’”
“They never said that to any man who was not elected,” Clinton said. “I was kind of struck by that.”
She went on to reference former presidential contenders who had lost their bid for the White House but did not shrink away from political discussion.
“I’m really glad that, you know, Al Gore didn’t stop talking about climate change,” Clinton said of the former Democratic vice president who ran for president in 2000.
She continued, “And I’m really glad John Kerry went to the Senate and became an excellent secretary of state.”
“And I’m really glad John McCain kept speaking out and standing up and saying what he had to say,” Clinton said of the Arizona Republican.
“And for heaven’s sakes, Mitt Romney is running for the Senate,” said Clinton, referring to the 2012 Republican nominee’s campaign for Senate in Utah.
Clinton added that she’s “really committed to speaking out and doing what I can to have a voice in the debate about where our country is going.”
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, a state which Trump won with 63% of the vote, said earlier this month Clinton cannot go away “soon enough” in response to Clinton’s remarks about Trump voters at a conference in India.
“So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward,” Clinton said at the conference. “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 later posted on Facebook that she “meant no disrespect to any individual or group.”
CNN’s Eric Bradner contributed to this report.