In one of her most candid speaking appearances since losing the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton harshly criticized Russia for interfering with the race, and said misogyny was a factor that contributed to her loss.
“I am deeply concerned about what went on with Russia,” Clinton said at the Women in the World summit in New York City on Thursday. “A foreign party meddled with our election. and did so in a way that we’re learning more about every single day.”
Clinton, during an interview with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, was particularly critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who she described as “someone who plays the long game” and “plays three-dimensional chess.”
“What was done to us was an act of aggression, and it was carried out by a foreign power under the control of someone who has a deep desire to dominate Europe and to send us into a tailspin,” Clinton said.
Like many of her fellow Democrats, Clinton called on Congress to establish an independent investigation into the Russian interference. Earlier on Thursday, House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican, recused himself from the committee’s investigation after he came under fire for possible ethics violations, and some lawmakers have called into question Congress’ ability to conduct a nonpartisan inquiry.
Clinton has made few public appearances since the election, but has reemerged on the political scene in the past few weeks.
On Thursday, she opened up about her stunning loss to President Donald Trump, saying misogyny “played a role” in her defeat.
“It is fair to say … that certainly misogyny played a role. That just has to be admitted,” Clinton said.
She continued: “In this election, there was a very real struggle between what is viewed as change that is welcomed and exciting to so many Americans, and change that is worrisome and threatening to so many others. And you layer on the first woman president over that, and I think some people, women included, had real problems.”
- REUTERS/Joe Raedle/Pool
Clinton also revived her criticism of FBI Director James Comey, who alerted Congress 11 days before the election that he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. Eight days later, Comey said he still would not recommend charges against Clinton, however his initial note to Congress is widely seen as having dissuaded some voters from choosing Clinton.
“The Comey letter coming as it did … really raised serious questions in a lot of people that were obviously unfounded, but nevertheless happened,” she said.
Clinton also weighed in on Republican efforts to overhaul American healthcare, which ended in embarrassment in March after GOP leadership couldn’t muster the votes to pass the Affordable Health Care Act, a replacement for President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
“I will admit that was somewhat gratifying,” she said, eliciting applause from the audience.
Despite waging war on Obama’s healthcare act, better known as Obamacare, few Republican lawmakers were actually familiar with what it entailed, Clinton said.
“I don’t know that any of them had read the bill, read the law, understood how it worked. It was so obvious,” Clinton said. “And health care is complicated right?” she added, referencing a tweet from Trump.
Clinton soon waded back into foreign policy, demanding payback for the chemical attack that claimed at least 70 lives in Syria on Tuesday. While Trump has remained vague on his stance toward Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Clinton called for a swift response to the attack.
“It is important we take a strong stance against chemical weapons,” Clinton said.
“People have to know that they will be held accountable as war criminals, as committing crimes against humanity, if they engage in these kinds of aggressive, violent acts.”
When asked whether she would run for office again, Clinton said she “likely” will not, focusing instead on helping Democrats regain a majority in Congress.