Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was featured in an interview with NPR on Monday, where she addressed a broad number of topics, including her thoughts on President Donald Trump's presidency, her book, and Trump's comments on her 2016 bathroom break during a presidential debate.
What were the biggest takeaways from the interview?
- "I believe that Donald Trump poses a clear and present danger to our democracy, to our institutions, to the rule of law, to the civil rights and human rights of so many Americans," Clinton said of Trump's presidency.
- "I tried to warn people," she said of the election and her attempt to convince Americans that Trump was bad news for the country.
- "Anger from a woman, at least up until now, is seen as off-putting and somewhat frightening to people," Clinton said as she offered an explanation as to why she didn't vocalize displeasure at Trump "looming" behind her during a 2016 presidential debate.
- "This is a very emotionally strange man. That that would even, No. 1, cross his mind, and No. 2, that he would share it at a rally, that he thought it would endear him or motivate the supporters he had at a rally," she said of Trump's explanation that her bathroom break during the debate was "too disgusting" to fathom.
- "It was, to me, really not only wrong — because obviously there was no basis for it — but it was politics at a very high level being affected by the most dangerous partisan hyperbole," Clinton said about chants of "Lock her up!" at Trump campaign rallies.
- "I have to say that the Republicans have been afraid of my husband and me for many years, and I think part of it is we don't go away, we don't give up, because we understand what's at stake," she said of "right-wing" attacks against her during her presidential run.
- "Every story should start with, 'These were stolen emails, and the best judgment from our intelligence professionals and independent analysts is they were stolen by Russia. And they were stolen for a purpose and they are clearly meant to kind of prevent any more attention on Trump's bad behavior,'" Clinton said of the media's coverage of the hacked Podesta emails.
- "I am fundamentally optimistic about our country, but I am not naive, and I don't think we can change things unless we take it seriously," she said of "defending democracy."
This writer's perspective
You might ask yourself, "How is this interview any different from Clinton's other recent interviews?" The answer is: It's not.
Clinton has spent the better part of the last year pointing the finger of blame at people, places, things, and ideas to shrug off responsibility for losing the 2016 election, and in this latest interview, it's more of the same.
Some people online have called Clinton a sore loser, while others have said that her external catharsis is therapeutic, understandable, and natural.
As for what she's working on — aside from her book tour — Clinton founded Onward Together, an organization that serves to recruit and train candidates for public office.
However, the organization — which was unveiled by Clinton more than four months ago — has seen much less coverage than the more salacious aspects of her book, "What Happened," and when you visit the organization's website, you receive only an option to donate money to the organization or read its mission statement.
The Daily Caller reported that an email sent last week to those who subscribed to the site read, "You may not have heard much about the work we’re doing at Onward Together. That’s because we’re working behind the scene to fund, support, and amplify the work of the groups we’re supporting. We’re not the story: they are."
"Please start a monthly donation to become a Founding Donor today," Clinton concluded in the email.
Whether or not Clinton would have been a good leader is a moot point at this juncture. And the reasons Clinton lost the 2016 election don't even matter anymore.
Approaching it from a different perspective, Clinton — who ran on a platform that lauded her leadership — might better serve an audience, a country, an organization by acting like a leader.
Acting like a leader means taking ownership of a loss and not self-justifying. Sometimes you have to take your lumps and move along. True leaders don't pass the buck — they keep their chins up and their noses to the grindstone.
More admirable leadership qualities include humility, self-awareness, simplicity, passion, and balance.
If any leaders — former, current, or future — can't say that their basic touchstones have included at least one of those fundamental leadership qualities, it could be, perhaps, a good time to reconsider the professional arena in which they operate.