Hillary Clinton reacts to the audience applause as she arrives on stage during the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center in New York, April 6, 2017.
“I look forward to hearing what Hillary has to say when the person she’s sharing the stage with isn’t constantly shouting, ‘Wrong!‘,” Samantha Bee said in her comments introducing Hillary Clinton at Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center in New York on Thursday. “You are not allowed to cry when she talks; that is not why she’s here today. Please welcome to the stage Hillary Rodham Beyoncé Clinton.”
When Clinton came onstage to talk with the New York Times’s Nick Kristof (or “the failing New York Times, as Bee quipped”), she got honest with the audience about how she’s been faring in the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s administration. Without naming Trump directly, Clinton shared some of her most sobering thoughts in this time—and her most humorous. Yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton has a favorite Trump administration GIF.
It’s a now a famous photo of the men in Trump’s administration making decisions regarding women’s health. Clinton was largely upset by this image of “all the men sitting around the table deciding how they were going to defund Planned Parenthood, end maternity care, end access to insurance for family planning for contraception,” but she was able to find some humor in the horror.
“My favorite GIF on the Internet was one showing the dogs sitting around the table, and one says, ‘Now, we will discuss feline health.’”
Clinton soberly remarked that “women’s issues are national security issues,” and she is alarmed by some of the questions that come from the leadership in Washington along these lines.
“Things that come out of some of these men’s mouths like, “‘Why do we have to cover maternity care?’ I don’t know, maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception,” Clinton quipped. She added, too: “I don’t understand the commitment to hurting so many people that this administration seems to be pursuing.”
Clinton also touched on the misogyny apparent in the 2016 election. She spoke of her long career, and remarked that, no matter how often she was in the public sphere, she seemed to have to introduce herself again to the American people.
“By the time they finished with me, I was Typhoid Mary,” she said, referring to the extensive investigation following her time as Secretary of State. “And look at Mary! She didn’t deserve it either, if you go back and look at the history.” Reflecting on her past experiences, though, Clinton urged other women in politics to “take criticism seriously but not personally.”
Clinton said her team “spent a long time trying to piece together” what went wrong in the election, and she named a few concerns (Russia and James Comey’s October 28 letter chief among them). But now, she said, she is looking to the future and what she can do to make changes that need to happen.
“Will you run for office again?,” Kristof probed.
Clinton visibly shivered and grabbed her heart in jest before answering: “I’m really focused on just doing some things that I think I can help make a difference with, like supporting young people and getting more women into politics. And I very much want to help Democrats take back the Congress . . . I don’t think [my future plans] will ever include running for office again.”
She finished on a familiar Hillary Rodham Clinton note: “I am passionate about the unfinished business of the 21st century: the rights and opportunities for women and girls.”