In her first major interview since the election, the former presidential candidate talks about Russia, misogyny and the Trump administration
By Madeleine Thompson
Despite an agenda packed with celebrities, the applause during the eighth annual Women in the World summit that ended last Friday was loudest for former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. At Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, Clinton gave her first major interview since the election to New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, who asked about everything from Syria to her plans for the future. Spoiler alert: they do not include running for mayor of New York City.
“As a person I’m okay — as an American I’m pretty worried,” Clinton said to Kristof’s query about how she has been holding up. “The aftermath of the election was so devastating and everything that has come to light in the days and weeks since has also been troubling. I just had to make up my mind that, yes, I was going to get out of bed.”
Some of the concerns Clinton cited were Russia’s influence in the election, the role misogyny played in the campaign and the overwhelmingly male Trump administration. She advocated for a non-partisan investigation into Russia’s involvement, and talked about how important it is for young women to run for office. Relaxed and light-hearted, she even joked about the Republicans’ failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “Why do we have to cover maternity care?” she said. “Well, maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception. Who knows?”
Women in the World is an annual conference organized by Tina Brown, CEO of Tina Brown Live Media, in association with The New York Times, featuring prominent women from all walks of life. Panels ranged from “How to Raise a Feminist,” with author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and president of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards, to a conversation with Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau, to “Saudi Women Athletes: Shaking Up the Kingdom.”
Not everyone got the warm welcome Clinton received; United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley was booed by the audience when asked about President Donald Trump’s actions on Russia. “I have had conversations with the president where he very much sees Russia as a problem,” Haley said. “The two things Russia doesn’t want to see the U.S. do is strengthen their military and expand energy, and the president has done both of those.” At one point, a heckler shouted, “What about refugees?”
New York City was represented by several summit speakers, including fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, journalist Maggie Haberman and actor Scarlett Johansson. Though Clinton all but said she was finished with running for office, Johansson told author and businesswoman Arianna Huffington that she wasn’t ruling it out. “I come from a very politically vocal family,” Johansson said. “My grandmother was fighting for tenants’ rights during the whole Mitchell-Lama housing development with [now-comptroller] Scott Stringer. I think that change happens at home.”
Throughout the three-day event, women and feminism took center stage. The heartbreaking stories of survival in ISIS-held cities and refugee camps, and even of instances of domestic terrorism like the Charleston massacre, served to remind viewers that though Women’s History Month just ended, it never really does.
Madeleine Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org