Hillary Clinton slammed President Trump as a “reality TV” candidate and again claimed sexism contributed to her defeat in the 2016 election while on a speaking tour in Auckland, New Zealand on Monday.
Clinton, who is promoting her book “What Happened,” took multiple jabs at Trump throughout her speech and during interviews with New Zealand media, although she didn’t mention him by name much, the New Zealand Herald reported. In particular, she called him “a creep” for standing close behind her during a town hall-style debate, a moment during the campaign she’s often brought up since the election.
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee described her presidential election loss as a “perfect storm” involving former FBI Director James Comey, the media who covered her email scandal, Russian interference and division within the country.
“The forces at work in the 2016 election in the United States are still with us and not only in my country but around the world,” Clinton said. “It was a perfect storm: deep currents of anger and resentment flowing through our culture. Our political press that told voters my emails were the most important story. The unprecedented intervention in our election by the FBI director. The information warfare waged from within the Kremlin.”
“We're having a very important struggle in the United States right now,” she said, according to the Herald. “It's difficult to fully grasp because there are 20 stories and people are getting overwhelmed by the strange goings on we are living through.”
She told the audience she read mystery novels after she lost the election “because the bad guy usually gets it in the end.”
“You know, in the past, I felt like I had to be, kind of careful in public, sort of keep my guard up. Well those days are over, and I am so pleased that I can pull the curtain back in the book on the unprecedented election – the first reality TV election in American history,” Clinton said.
"I am so pleased that I can pull the curtain back in the book on the unprecedented election – the first reality TV election in American history."
Hosted by The Growth Faculty, the former secretary of state discussed sexism, particularly in the U.S., and how she said it impacted her political aspirations. Tickets ranged from $195 to $595, according to the event page.
“The more professionally successful we are, the less people like us,” Clinton said of women. She said she was “historically” liked whenever she served as the first lady or a member of former President Barack Obama’s Cabinet – but not when she decided to become a leader and run for president.
She praised New Zealand for recently electing its third female prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. She's the country's youngest prime minister since the 1850s.
Clinton said although she doesn’t plan to run against Trump in 2020, she believes he could be defeated since “we now know a lot more about the kind of campaign he runs and the kind of candidate he is.”
She said neither she nor the press “did the job they should have” when dealing with Trump.
“Part of our problem was this unprecedented reality TV campaign, and he being the first reality TV candidate in our history,” Clinton told Stuff, New Zealand’s online publication. “The media didn’t know how to cover him. It was like they were watching a car wreck or a train wreck all the time.”
“And his insults and his scapegoating and his horrible comments about people with disabilities and Latin Americans and immigrations and everybody – it was just so hard to understand,” she said. “So the press didn’t do the job it should have. I didn’t do the job I should have. I think people were almost mesmerized by this display.”
Clinton met with Ardern before her speech.
“We had a good discussion, which included some domestic policy here in New Zealand that Mrs. Clinton had an interest in,” Ardern said after the meeting. She added that the pair talked about “being a mom” in the political world.
Clinton said they had a “broad-ranging substantive and personal conversation.” She told Stuff Ardern’s win was a “shot of optimism” for her after she lost the presidential election.
The two women also exchanged gifts. Clinton gave the mom-to-be a Buzzy Bee toy, and Ardern gave the former first lady children’s books for her grandchildren, the prime minister said. Clinton said she also gave Ardern a personalized copy of her book, “What Happened.”
Clinton is traveling to Australia next.