“If he wants to be the [Republican] nominee, he will be the nominee,” the former secretary of state told the panel of ABC’s The View.
Ms Clinton spoke about a range of political issues during the discussion, including saying that the US is still “in the midst of a concerted, well-funded, effort to undermine American democracy”.
Guest host Sherri Shepherd asked Ms Clinton what it says about the state of American democracy that 63 per cent of Republicans or Republican-leaning independents believe former president Trump should be leading the party.
Ms Clinton said that every Republican considering running for the party’s 2024 nomination knows that Mr Trump’s chances are strong if he decides to run again.
“What [these politicians] are doing is trying to placate and play up to him,” she said. “Because if he decides not to run, they want to be the second or other alternative choice.”
She continued: “I think it says volumes about the Republican Party today that someone who has the record of attacking our own government, lying to people about the biggest health crisis that we’ve had in over 100 years, is considered the leader because they’re all afraid of the mob he has created, and keeps energised.”
Ms Clinton said there are examples of demagogues such as Mr Trump throughout history.
“They can rise and they can fall, or they can have a sustained position of leadership — and authoritarian leadership to that,” the former first lady said.
“They are calling the shots for people who either truly believe what they’re being told, or who threw their lot in for partisan reasons, financial reasons, ideological reasons.”
Asked about how close the US came to a full constitutional crisis in the aftermath of the election as Mr Trump continued to sow doubt about his loss and Joe Biden’s win, and whether the former president was accountable for what happened on 6 January, Ms Clinton was blunt.
“I think we not only came close to a full constitutional crisis, I think we’re still in it,” she said. “And that gives me absolutely no satisfaction in saying this, but I think we’re at a very dangerous continuing high-level attack on the legitimacy of our government and the election of our president.”
Ms Clinton continued: “Obviously, our former president is not only behind it, he incited it, he encouraged it, and he continues to do so.”
She also called out leaders of the Republican Party for willingly going along with Mr Trump “as though they’re members of a cult, not a political party,” and their attacks on the election and their refusal to say that votes were counted, the election is over, and its time to move on.
Ms Clinton said that that combined with “the disinformation network known as Facebook” is a volatile mix.
“We are still in the midst of a concerted, well-funded effort to undermine American democracy,” she concluded.
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