Since the election, Chelsea Clinton hasn't been as active on Twitter as the president, but she's taken to social media plenty, taking a stand for what she thinks is right. On Saturday, The Guardian released an interview with the former first daughter and vice chair of the Clinton Foundation in which Clinton said why she responds to bullies online — including the president.
The response came from a part of the interview where Clinton was asked about #MeToo and whether she thinks the feminist movement will do better to "go high" or to "go all out to tear down the patriarchy." Clinton said that her view has changed since Donald Trump took the White House.
She used to stay silent in the face of “all of the meanness," she said. No longer. "Now I’ve come to feel differently," Clinton told The Guardian, "because I think that the way that our president and many people around him have not only mainstreamed hate, but mainlined it, is so deeply dangerous." So that has gotten her talking, or tweeting as the case may be. Clinton said:
So the reason, now, I no longer ignore it when people say hateful things to me on the street or on social media is, I think we have to shine a light. I think those of us who have platforms to do that have to say this is wrong and unacceptable, so we don’t normalize it but try to detoxify what has been unleashed. Because if we don’t, we leave a vacuum. And I think the darkness fills that vacuum.
On Sunday morning, she was already back at it on Twitter. User John Witczak had responded to a tweet from Fox News and correspondent Christopher Carbone. Witczak wrote, "Is there more useless waste of space than Chelsea Clinton?"
She quote tweeted and added, "Good morning John! Very grateful for my space in the world and the day ahead with my family. Hope you have a wonderful day!" The user's account has since been closed.
In the Guardian interview, Clinton quoted reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center about the effect of Trump's rhetoric on school children. "Not just the hundreds but now thousands of instances in schools across America, where children are citing the president as they’re demeaning a little girl, or they’re chanting ‘Build a wall’ in an attempt to demean and degrade brown children," Clinton gave as an example of why ignoring the hatred is dangerous.
She also noted that the constant countering of the hate does not come naturally to her. “For me, maybe because I’ve had so much vitriol flung at me for as long as I can literally remember, people saying awful things to me even as a child, I’ve never found it productive, personally, to engage in that way," Clinton told The Guardian. "To retaliate with crass language or insult someone personally – I just don’t think I’m built that way.”
But she does think that one must respond, even if the person who posts things about her may really be made about something else:
The savagery that is directed at me, sometimes it’s because I’m just the person that they happen to see and recognize, and they’re angry, and so that anger kind of spills out. Sometimes they’re mad at me because of something that my mum or dad did, or something that my mum or dad never did.
In addition to responding online — something she did with Trump last July — Clinton has responded to the president's politics by protesting. "I don’t agree with what he’s doing to degrade what it means to be an American," Clinton told The Guardian. And by reading her Twitter feed, you know she means it.