Donald Trump's inaugural speech was 'cry from the white nationalist gut', says Hillary Clinton

The former first lady was promoting her new memoir

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 11 September 2017 08:48
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Clinton: Trump's inauguration speech was 'a cry from the white nationalist gut'

Defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has described Donald Trump’s inauguration speech as a “cry from the white nationalist gut”.

Promoting a new book that details her surprise defeat in last year’s presidential election, Ms Clinton said attending the inauguration ceremony of the man who defeated her was “like an out-of-body experience”.

“But I’m a former first lady, and former presidents and first ladies show up,” she said. “It’s part of the demonstration of the continuity of our government.”

Ms Clinton said she had no alternative but to attend the ceremony

Speaking to CBS, she added: “And so there I was, on the platform, you know, feeling like an out-of-body experience. And then his speech, which was a cry from the white nationalist gut.”

Ms Clinton made her comments as she promotes a new memoir, What Happened, published by Simon & Schuster and in which she acknowledges her role in her defeat.

“I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made,” she writes, according to reports of advance copies of the book. “I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want - but I was the candidate. It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.”

After Ms Clinton lost, many were furious with her for what they deemed basic mistakes - her failure to visit the state of Wisconsin, for instance - and her failure to connect with younger voters. Many believed Bernie Sanders would have used the enthusiasm he generated among younger voters to defeat Mr Trump.

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When Mr Trump delivered his inaugural address on January 20, Ms Clinton sat on the dais behind him, with her husband, Bill Clinton, and his former presidents George W Bush and Jimmy Carter. George HW Bush sent a letter of apology as treatment for pneumonia forced him to miss the event.

In his speech, written by his pugilistic advisers Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, Mr Trump outlined an unashamedly nationalist and populist vision for the country. “This American carnage stops right here and right now,” he said.

Ms Clinton said she believed Mr Trump had tapped into a “nostalgia” felt by his supporters.

“He was quite successful in referencing a nostalgia that would give hope, comfort, settle grievances for millions of people who were upset about gains that were made by others,” she said.

Interviewer Jane Pauley asked her: “What you’re saying is millions of white people?”

Ms Clinton replied: “Millions of white people, yeah. Millions of white people.

She added: “I understood that there were many Americans who, because of the financial crash, there was anger. And there was resentment. I knew that. But I believed that it was my responsibility to try to offer answers to it, not to fan it. I think, Jane, that it was a mistake because a lot of people didn’t want to hear my plans. They wanted me to share their anger. And I should’ve done a better job of demonstrating ‘I get it’.”

Asked about her “basket of deplorables” comment during the campaign, in which she said half of Mr Trump’s supporters were “irredeemable”, Ms Clinton sought to repeat the view.

“Trump was behaving in a deplorable manner,” she said, citing the Access Hollywood tape. “There were a large number of people who didn’t care.”

In recent weeks, Mr Trump has found himself at the centre of mounting controversy over what critics say has been his support for white supremacists and racists.

He was criticised for his response to neo-Nazi-led violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month in which one woman was killed. Mr Trump sought to claim there was blame on “many sides” and defended those who wanted to stop statues of figures from the Confederacy from being taken down.

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