Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright apologized in a New York Times editorial Friday for the bold comment she made last week at a rally for Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, saying that it was the “wrong time” to utter her signature phrase, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”
“I absolutely believe what I said, that women should help one another, but this was the wrong context and the wrong time to use that line,” Albright, who served as the U.S.’s first female secretary of state, wrote.
The former diplomat went on to write that she did not intend to argue that women should support a particular candidate “based solely on gender.”
“I understand that I came across as condemning those who disagree with my political preferences. If heaven were open only to those who agreed on politics, I imagine it would be largely unoccupied,” Albright continued.
Albright made the remark, which she says has been in her repertoire for 25 years, while campaigning with Clinton, who is trailing Democratic rival Bernie Sanders among millennial female voters.
Though she walked back her controversial comment, Albright still believes women “have an obligation to help one another.” She also wrote that she believes it is “important” to speak to women when a “viable” female candidate, speaking of Clinton, is a reality.
“While young women may not want to hear anything more from this aging feminist, I feel it is important to speak to women coming of age at a time when a viable female presidential candidate, once inconceivable, is a reality,” Albright wrote.
During Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate, Clinton was asked whether or not she agrees with Albright’s comment.
“She’s been saying that for as long as I’ve known her, which is about 25 years,” Clinton said. “But it doesn’t change my view that we need to empower everyone, women and men, to make the best decisions in their minds that they can make. That’s what I’ve always stood for.”
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