Hillary Clinton believes she would have won the 2016 election if not for the “unprecedented attacks” by former FBI Director James Comey and Russian hackers.
The former senator, secretary of state and presidential candidate was blunt in interviews for a lengthy New York Magazine profile published Friday.
Clinton didn’t back away from her heavily criticized analysis of the election in early May — that then-FBI Director James Comey’s last-minute intervention in the election swung a critical mass of undecided voters to Donald Trump’s side. “If the election had been on October 27,” she said at the time, “I’d be your president.”
“I would have won had I not been subjected to the unprecedented attacks by Comey and the Russians, aided and abetted by the suppression of the vote, particularly in Wisconsin,” she told New York in the new profile.
Criticism of Wisconsin’s strict voter ID laws has gained steam in recent months after a series of reports on the hundreds of thousands of people in that state who did not have sufficient identification to vote.
Clinton also reflected on the sexism, blatant and not, she faced as by far the most successful female candidate for president in American history.
“Once I moved from serving someone — a man, the president — to seeking that job on my own, I was once again vulnerable to the barrage of innuendo and negativity and attacks that come with the territory of a woman who is striving to go further,” she said, noting that her approval rating had been 69 percent as secretary of state in the Obama administration.
One particularly difficult moment, she recalled, came during the second presidential debate. News outlets noted afterward that Trump had frequently stalked behind Clinton as she walked around a staged town hall floor, answering questions.
“[W]hat he was doing was so … uh …” she began, pausing. “So personally invasive: following me, eyeing me.”
Clinton decided that addressing the situation in the moment — “Get away from me!” — would have delivered Trump a victory.
“I saw him destroy all of his Republican opposition who eventually tried to confront him on a debate stage and he reacted with such contempt. He will gain points, and I will lose points,” she said.
Still, Clinton noted, Trump had won the debate among his most macho fans.
“But I also ended up with him really satisfying a lot of his potential voters. One of these guys, I can’t remember who, said, ‘Oh, he was the alpha male! He was the big gorilla in the …’ — whatever they call gorilla groups!” she said. “I think that for people already committed to him, they loved it.”
New York noted that commentary came from Nigel Farage, the Brexit cheerleader, who compared Trump to a silverback gorilla.
Interestingly, Clinton seemed to confirm former President George W. Bush’s pointed commentary on Trump’s inaugural address, in which the President declared: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
Three unnamed sources told New York in January that Bush remarked afterward: “That was some weird shit.”
Did he say that? the magazine asked Clinton.
“Put it in your article,” she said. “They tried to walk back from it, but…”
Did she hear it herself? New York’s Rebecca Traister asked.
She transcribed Clinton’s response: “She raises her eyebrows and grins.”