The Best Quotes from Hillary Clinton's 'What Happened' About Bernie Sanders, the 2016 Campaign, and Trump
In the months immediately following her defeat in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton stayed out of the political spotlight, opting instead to spend time with family. But now, with her new memoir What Happened, which debuts on Tuesday, the former Secretary of State is laying out her thoughts about the campaign experience, from what it was like to run against Bernie Sanders to the mistakes she felt led to Trump's victory.
Below, the most revelatory quotes from What Happened, many of which were first reported by CNN, which was able to obtain a copy early.
ON WRITING THE MEMOIR:
"Every day that I was a candidate for president, I knew that millions of people were counting on me and I couldn’t bear the idea of letting them down, but I did. I couldn’t get the job done and I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life. In this book, I write about moments from the campaign that I wish I could go back and do over. If the Russians could hack my subconscious, they’d find a long list."
ON BERNIE SANDERS:
"He certainly shared my horror at the thought of Donald Trump becoming President, and I appreciated that he campaigned for me in the general election. But he isn't a Democrat—that's not a smear, that's what he says. He didn't get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party. He was right that Democrats needed to strengthen our focus on working families and that there's always a danger of spending too much time courting donors because of our insane campaign finance system. He also engaged a lot of young people in the political process for the first time, which is extremely important...I am proud to be a Democrat and
ON DEBATING DONALD TRUMP:
"This is not okay, I thought. It was the second presidential debate, and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.
It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?’ Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up, you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.'"
ON TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CAMPAIGN:
"I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want—but I was the candidate."
ON THE PUBLIC SCRUTINY:
"What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I'm really asking. I'm at a loss," she writes. "I think it's partly because I'm a woman."
ON HER MARRIAGE AND ITS VERY PUBLIC TROUBLES:
"There were times that I was deeply unsure about whether our marriage could or should survive," she writes. "But on those days, I asked myself the questions that mattered to me: Do I still love him? And can I still be in this marriage without becoming unrecognizable to myself—twisted by anger, resentment, or remoteness? The answers were always yes."
"There's nothing I was looking forward to more than showing Putin that his efforts to influence our election and install a friendly puppet had failed. I know he must be enjoying everything that's happened instead. But he hasn't had the last laugh yet."
ON HER CONCESSION CALL TO TRUMP:
"I congratulated Trump and offered to do anything I could to make sure the transition was smooth ... It was all perfectly nice and weirdly ordinary, like calling a neighbor to say you can't make it to his barbecue. It was mercifully brief ... I was numb. It was all so shocking."
ON MEETING JASON CHAFFETZ (AND THINKING HE WAS REINCE PRIEBUS):
“We headed up the stairs to leave the platform and go back inside the Capitol, shaking hands along the way. I saw a man off to the side who I thought was Reince Priebus, head of the Republican National Committee and incoming White House Chief of Staff. As I passed by, we shook hands and exchanged small talk. Later I realized it hadn’t been Priebus at all. It was Jason Chaffetz, the then-Utah Congressman and wannabe Javert who made endless political hay out of my emails and the 2012 tragedy in Benghazi, Libya.
Later, Chaffetz posted a picture of our handshake with the caption 'So pleased she is not the President. I thanked her for her service and wished her luck. The investigation continues.' What a class act! I came this close to tweeting back, 'To be honest, thought you were Reince.'"
ON REMAINING A PART OF THE POLITICAL CONVERSATION:
"There were plenty of people hoping that I, too, would just disappear...But here I am."
In the coming months, Clinton will be touring the country, giving speeches to promote her book. For the full schedule, visit hillaryclintonbooktour.com.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.