Brian Lehrer skipped the second day of Rosh Hashanah today to speak with Hillary Clinton, who's in the midst of a media tour for her election memoir, What Happened. And though it is exhausting to have to relive Election 2016 again and again and again, Clinton made a few good points—though she would not comment on whether the Anthony Weiner Underage Sexting Scandal was a Russian plot.
In her 25-minute interview, Clinton talked a lot about how she was treated by the media. "I'm kind of hard on the press, as you know from the book, in part because I was surprised they were so caught up in the trappings and the spectacle of the Trump campaign, but also because I think they were having a hard time trying to sort out what was and wasn't newsworthy," Clinton said. "They fell back on my emails time and time ago even as it's proven to be, as I said it would be, not a major historical issue. And they got sidetracked on what Trump was doing."
Clinton also blamed herself for not being able to play the media as well as her opponents, both Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders. "It turns out you throw these big goals up in the air, and the way coverage is today, you're often not forced to answer all these questions," she said. "I think that I could have done more because I certainly thought about all of it. I've been for universal healthcare coverage for my whole adult life, and worked on it for 25 years."
She addressed the frustrations of the white working class that helped elect Trump, arguing that while issues regarding economic disparity should certainly be at the forefront for the Democrats, it's important civil rights issues not be ignored. "I think Democrats should stand for both economic justice and social justice," she said. "I think we have to do a better job of making the case that economic justice is not something for only a part of America."
And Clinton touched on how her loss to Trump made it all the more necessary for young girls and women to know that they are equal to young boys and men. "There is research that is heartbreaking that by the age of six, little girls think boys are smarter," Clinton said. "They've just started school. There is a cultural message that little girls get that over time does wear on them, and we've got to build up our little girls and help our little boys understand they've got to stand up for what is right as well."
Lehrer also had Clinton weigh in on Mayor Bill de Blasio—"Bill's work on universal pre- school was especially important to me and I strongly supported it while he was advocating for it," she said—and on how states will have to champion progressivism while Trump is in the White House. "We're going to have to use cities and states as laboratories of democracy, using that old phrase, because we're clearly fighting rearguard actions in Washington," she said." But when Lehrer brought up Weiner—whose correspondence with an underage teen prompted the re-opening of the FBI investigation into Clinton's emails just eleven days before the election—Clinton stayed mum.
Lehrer asked if Clinton had anything to say about conspiracy rumors that the teen in question was part of a plot by the Russians or Republicans to derail Clinton. "I really don't have any comment on any of that," she said. "In the book I write about the shock I had when this was used, and I would argue used inappropriately in the campaign in the very end. As to the other issues, I don't have anything to say about those."
You can listen to the whole interview online.