Hillary Clinton didn’t pull any punches Friday when she took several jabs at President Trump – at one point even comparing him to Former President Richard Nixon - as she delivered the commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College.
"When people in power invent their own facts and attack those who question them, it can mark the beginning of the end of a free society," she said. "That is not hyperbole, it is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done. ... They attempt to control reality."
Friday is the third time Clinton has given the commencement speech at Wellesley – her first was as a student in 1969 and then again in 1992.
Although she didn't mention him directly by name, the former first lady and Democratic presidential candidate called out several controversies swirling around the Trump administration. She compared his presidency to that of Nixon.
"We were furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice, after firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice," Clinton said, discussing the sentiment on campus the year that she graduated.
She also took aim at Trump's budget blueprint, which she called "an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us — the youngest, the oldest, the poorest, and hard-working people who need a little help to gain or hang on to a decent, middle-class life."
Clinton warned students that they are “graduating at a time when there’s a full-fledged assault on truth and reason.”
“People denying science, concocting elaborate, hurtful conspiracy theories about child-abuse rings operating out of pizza parlors, drumming up rampant fear about undocumented immigrants, Muslims, minorities, the poor, turning neighbor against neighbor and sowing division at a time when we desperately need unity,” she said. “Some are even denying things we see with our own eyes, like the size of crowds, and then defending themselves by talking about quote-unquote “alternative facts.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer came under heavy media scrutiny when he tried to make the case that Trump’s inauguration was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.”
Almost immediately, side-by-side images were posted that seemed to contradict the claim.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway attempted to back up Spicer’s claim by saying he had “alternative facts” about the crowd size.
Following Clinton’s speech, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement that Clinton’s comments were a “stark reminder why (she) lost in 2016” and accused Clinton of “lashing out with the same partisan talking points.”