Books

Excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s new book: ‘I felt I’d been shivved by then-FBI Director Jim Comey’

Hillary Clinton delivering her concession speech alongside her husband, Bill, and running mate, Tim Kaine, in November.
Olivier Douliery/EPA/pool/file
Hillary Clinton delivering her concession speech alongside her husband, Bill, and running mate, Tim Kaine, in November.

ON TRUMP AS CAMPAIGNER:

For Trump, if everyone’s down in the mud with him, then he’s no dirtier than anyone else. He doesn’t have to do better if everyone else does worse. I think that’s why he seems to relish humiliating people around him. And it’s why he must have been delighted when Marco Rubio tried to match him in slinging crude personal insults during the primaries. Of course, it hurt Rubio much more than Trump. As Bill likes to say, never wrestle a pig in the mud. . . . Sadly, Trump’s strategy works. When people start believing that all politicians are liars and crooks, the truly corrupt escape scrutiny, and cynicism grows.

ON TRUMP SUPPORTERS:

I’m not saying that all Trump voters are racist or xenophobic. There are plenty of good-hearted people who are uncomfortable about perceived antipolice rhetoric, undocumented immigrants, and fast-changing norms around gender and sexual orientation. But you had to be deaf to miss the coded language and racially charged resentment powering Trump’s campaign. . . . Generalizing about a broad group of people is almost always unwise. And I regret handing Trump a political gift with my “deplorables’’ comment. . . . But too many of Trump’s supporters do hold views that I find — there’s no other word for it — deplorable. . . . [I]t is an uncomfortable and unavoidable fact that everyone who voted for Donald Trump . . . made the decision to elect a man who bragged about sexual assault, attacked a federal judge for being Mexican and grieving Gold Star parents who were Muslim, and has a long and well-documented history of racial discrimination in his businesses. That doesn’t mean every Trump voter approved of those things, but at a minimum they accepted or overlooked them.

ON ‘THE WAR ON TRUTH’:

My predecessor in the Senate, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, used to say, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.’’ We can disagree about politics and values, but claiming that 2+2=5 and having millions of Americans swallow it is very different. When the most powerful person in the country says, “Don’t believe your eyes, don’t believe the experts, don’t believe the numbers, just believe me,’’ that rips a big hole in a free democratic society like ours. . . . Trump has taken the war on truth to a whole new level. . . . Just look at what happened several weeks into his presidency when Trump falsely accused President Obama of having wiretapped him, a claim that was widely and quickly debunked. A subsequent poll found that 74 percent of Republicans nevertheless thought it was at least somewhat likely to be true.

ON TRUMP’S FIRST HUNDRED DAYS:

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I even allowed myself a little chuckle when he fumed, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.’’ He also discovered that foreign policy is harder than it looks. The President of China had to explain the complexity . . . to him. “After listening for ten minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,’’ Trump said. Can you hear my palm slapping my forehead? Sometimes it seems like Trump didn’t even want to be President at all. “This is more work than in my previous life,’’ he told a reporter. I thought it would be easier.’’

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ON PUTIN:

When I sat with Putin in meetings, he looked more like one of those guys on the subway who imperiously spread their legs wide, encroaching on everyone else’s space, as if to say, “I take what I want,’’ and “I have so little respect for you that I’m going to act as if I’m lounging at home in my bathrobe.’’ They call it “manspreading.’’ That was Putin.

ON THE TRUMP ‘BROMANCE’ WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN:

First, Trump has a bizarre fascination with dictators and strongmen. . . . Strength is what it’s all about. Trump doesn’t think in terms of morality or human rights, he thinks only in terms of power and dominance. . . . And Trump appears to have fallen hard for Putin’s macho “bare-chested autocrat’’ act. He doesn’t just like Putin — he seems to want to be like Putin. . . . Second, despite his utter lack of interest in or knowledge of most foreign policy issues, Trump has a long-standing worldview that aligns well with Putin’s agenda. He is suspicious of American allies, doesn’t think values should play a role in foreign policy, and doesn’t seem to believe the United States should continue carrying the mantle of global leadership. . . . The third explanation was that Trump seems to have extensive financial ties to Russia .. . . “[Trump’s election would] be like Christmas in the Kremlin,’’ I predicted.

ON BERNIE SANDERS:

No matter how bold and progressive my policy proposals were . . . Bernie would come out with something even bigger, loftier, and leftier, regardless of whether it was realistic or not. . . . Because we agreed on so much, Bernie couldn’t make an argument against me in this area on policy, so he had to resort to innuendo and impugning my character. . . . [H]is attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s “Crooked Hillary’’ campaign. . . . Still, and this is important, Bernie deserves credit for understanding the political power of big, bold ideas. . . . Bernie proved again that it’s important to set lofty goals that people can organize around and dream about, even if it takes generations to achieve them.

ON JAMES COMEY:

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[Y]ou’ve most likely already heard more than your fill about my e-mails. . . . For months after the election, I tried to put it all out of my mind. It would do me no good to brood over my mistake [of using a private e-mail account for government business]. And it wasn’t healthy or productive to dwell on the ways I felt I’d been shivved by then-FBI Director Jim Comey — three times over the final five months of the campaign. . . . His October 28 letter about the investigation into my e-mails led to a week of wall-to-wall negative coverage. . . . Trump understood that Comey’s apparent imprimatur gave his “Crooked Hillary’’ attacks new credibility, and Republicans dumped at least $17 million in Comey-related ads into the battleground states. It worked.

ON THE CONCESSION CALL:

“Donald, it’s Hillary.’’ It was without a doubt one of the strangest moments of my life. I congratulated Trump and offered to do anything I could to make sure the transition was smooth. He said nice things about my family and our campaign. He may have said something about how hard it must have been to make the call, but it’s all a blur now, so I can’t say for certain. It was all perfectly nice and weirdly ordinary, like calling a neighbor to say you can’t make it to his barbecue.

ON ‘SELF CARE’ AFTER THE RACE:

I went on a lot of long walks in the woods with my husband and our dogs, Tally and Maisie, who took all this much better than we did. I surrounded myself with friends and caught up on some of the shows that people have been telling me about for years [“The Good Wife,’’ “Madam Secretary,’’ “Blue Bloods,’’ and “NCIS: Los Angeles’’], as well as a lot of HGTV. Best of all, I spent time with my wonderful grandchildren. . . . I did yoga with my instructor, Marianne Letizia, especially “breath work.” . . . It wasn’t all yoga and breathing: I also drank my share of chardonnay.

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ON HER MARRIAGE WITH BILL CLINTON:

I know some people wonder why we’re still together. I heard it again in the 2016 campaign: that “we must have an arrangement’’ (we do, it’s called a marriage). . . . We’ve certainly had dark days in our marriage. You know all about them — and please consider for a moment what it would be like for the whole world to know about the worst moments in your relationship. . . . I still think he’s one of the most handsome men I’ve ever known. I’m proud of him: proud of his vast intellect, his big heart, the contributions he has made to the world. I love him with my whole heart. That’s more than enough to build a life on.