Hillary Clinton blames the GOP for the deep political divide, but concedes she’d like to ‘take back’ some things she said

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Geisinger Symposium

  • Hillary Clinton blamed powerful patrons of the GOP for deepening the country’s political divide, but added that she also regrets some of the things she said “in the heat of battle.”
  • During a speech at Rutgers University on Thursday, Clinton argued that Republican politicians are being forced to the far right by wealthy donors with their own agenda.
  • And she said she sympathizes with moderate Republicans who are being forced to retire “because they know they’ll be shown no understanding by the hard right.”

During a speech to a sold-out arena at Rutgers University on Thursday, Hillary Clinton blamed powerful patrons of the GOP for deepening the country’s political divide, but added that she “would like to take back” some things she’s said in “the heat of battle.”

Talking about the divisiveness in politics, the former Democratic presidential nominee said both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for the country’s political rift.

“Both parties have their faults … we can all do better,” she said. “I can certainly do better. Obviously in the heat of battle and political back and forth, I’ve said things that I would like to take back – we all are like that.”

But, Clinton argued, the Republican Party is being pushed rightward by a group of powerful, hard-right donors seeking to promote their own agenda.

“It’s being held captive by a small group of powerful forces,” Clinton said of the GOP. “Some of the very wealthy patrons of the Republican Party are so demanding, if you deviate from their stated requests, they will fund somebody to run against you in a Republican primary, they will dry up your money, they will make it really difficult.”

Clinton said that while she wants to see more Republican leaders stand up to the party’s most powerful backers, she understands “how intense the partisanship is.”

She praised Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican and former presidential candidate who’s been an outspoken critic of the president and his administration. Diagnosed with brain cancer last year, McCain has been recovering at home in Arizona for the last several months.

“I’m so missing John McCain’s voice, because you can disagree with John, but he will stand up for Democratic values and Democratic institutions,” Clinton said, adding that establishment and moderate Republicans are retiring from office “because they know they’ll be shown no understanding by the hard-right and the money that funds it.”