Neither candidate from the 2016 presidential election can entirely move past the race, it seems. Donald Trump consistently brings up his success and his opponent's failure, and recently, Hillary Clinton gave a blunt talk in India about the factors she believes contributed to Trump's victory. An outcry over Clinton's speech about Trump led the former presidential candidate to explain them in a long Facebook post.
"I understand how some of what I said upset people and can be misinterpreted," Clinton wrote on Facebook. "I meant no disrespect to any individual or group. And I want to look to the future as much as anybody."
Clinton said in her post that she was asked at an event with members of the Indian media why she believes that Trump won, and that led to an answer that reminded many people of her "deplorables" comment before the election. In that instance, she said that a majority of Trump supporters might fit into a "basket of deplorables," which she said included people motivated by racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, or xenophobic ideas. She eventually walked that comment back, but it stuck. This time, she expressed similar sentiments, but in different words.
"If you look at the map of the United States, there's all that red in the middle where Trump won. I win the coast. I win, you know, Illinois and Minnesota — places like that," Clinton said in India. "What the map doesn't show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America's gross domestic product. So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward."
Her description of Trump's message, then, was a more direct allusion to the "deplorables" comments. "[Trump's] whole campaign — 'Make America Great Again' — was looking backward. You know, you didn't like black people getting rights; you don't like women, you know, getting jobs," she said. "You don't want to, you know, see that Indian American succeeding more than you are — you know, whatever your problem is, I'm gonna solve it." She also circled back to the voting trends of white women, a majority of whom voted for her opponent, and suggested that they did so because of "ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should."
Critics from across the political spectrum lit into Clinton's comments, saying that she was discounting a broad swath of the country both geographically and population-wise. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), for example, said on Fox News Sunday that she was "wrong" and "not helpful."
Less than a week after her initial comments, then, Clinton wrote the long Facebook post attempting to clarify what she meant to say about the country.
"I said that places doing better economically typically lean Democratic, and places where there is less optimism about the future lean Republican. That doesn't mean the coasts versus the heartland, it doesn't even mean entire states," she said, referring to her more geographically focused comments. "In fact, it more often captures the divisions between more dynamic urban areas and less prosperous small towns within states."
She also emphasized that she herself is from the Midwest, and that her proposed policies would have been aimed at helping everyone in the country. She said that she "never accepted" Trump's "dark and backwards looking" message. She also focused more deeply on her statement about white women being swayed by male figures in their lives, which she said she didn't realize "how hard it would hit many who heard it."
"I was out there having a conversation, and this was one piece of a larger point about how Democrats need to do better with white women, because I know in my heart that Democrats have much more to offer them," she said, before referring back to her own experience and struggles to be validated as a woman in politics.
"So to those upset or offended by what I said last week, I hope this explanation helps to explain the point I was trying to make," she said in conclusion. "And I hope now that we can get back to the real business before us: Protecting our democracy and building a future we can all share.'"
Disclosure: Hillary Clinton's son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky joined Social Capital, an investor in Bustle Digital Group, in mid 2017 and joined the Board of Bustle Digital Group in early 2018.