‘I am done with being a candidate,’ Hillary Clinton says

Hillary Clinton says she won’t run for president for a third time.
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press
Hillary Clinton says she won’t run for president for a third time.

WASHINGTON — Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that she will not pursue the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

‘‘I am done with being a candidate,’’ Clinton said on CBS’s ‘‘Sunday Morning.’’

Clinton, who on Tuesday will release ‘‘What Happened,’’ her memoir of the 2016 campaign, does plan to stay involved in national politics, just not as an ‘‘active politician’’ who may launch a campaign.


‘‘But I am not done with politics because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake,’’ she said in an interview with Jane Pauley.

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Clinton was critical of President Trump’s preparedness for the White House.

‘‘We have a reality show that leads to the election of a president. He ends up in the Oval Office. He says, ‘Boy, it’s so much harder than I thought it would be. This is really tough. I had no idea,’ ’’ Clinton said. ‘‘Well, yeah, because it’s not a show. It’s real. It’s reality, for sure.’’

The former Democratic nominee said she has moved on from her 2016 election loss but acknowledged the sting of defeat has not entirely faded away. ‘‘I am good,’’ Clinton said. ‘‘But that doesn’t mean I am complacent or resolved about what happened. It still is very painful. It hurts a lot.’’

Clinton said that racial grievances had a significant influence on the 2016 presidential election and continue to be stoked by Trump.


‘‘He was quite successful in referencing a nostalgia that would give hope, comfort, settle grievances for millions of people who were upset about gains that were made by others,’’ Clinton said.

Pauley replied, ‘‘What you’re saying is millions of white people.’’

‘‘Millions of white people, yeah,’’ Clinton said. ‘‘Millions of white people.’’

Clinton also criticized Trump’s address at his inauguration, which she attended in January out of what she deemed a sense of duty, as a speech that spoke to the anger of some white voters.

‘‘I’m a former first lady, and former presidents and first ladies show up,’’ Clinton said. ‘‘It’s part of the demonstration of the continuity of our government.


“And so there I was, on the platform, you know, feeling like an out-of-body experience. And then his speech, which was a cry from the white-nationalist gut.’’

Clinton’s remarks on Sunday came a little more than a year after she gave a major campaign speech in which she described the ‘‘disturbing’’ connection between Trump’s campaign and the ‘‘alt-right,’’ a movement associated with white nationalism.

‘‘He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,’’ Clinton said in Nevada last year. ‘‘His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.’’

Trump responded at the time by saying that Clinton was using the ‘‘oldest play in the Democratic playbook.’’

‘‘She paints decent Americans, you, as racists,’’ Trump told a crowd in Manchester, N.H., after her speech.

Clinton’s language about her future in the interview with CBS News was more definitive than in her book, in which she said she was “amused and surprised” by talk earlier this year that she was considering running for New York mayor. She said she needs to nurture younger leaders in the Democratic Party while adding that she’s not going to back down just because she lost the presidential race.

“If Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain, and Mitt Romney can find positive ways to contribute after their own election defeats, so can I,” Clinton wrote in the book, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. “I will speak out on the causes I care about, campaign for other Democrats, and do whatever I can to build the infrastructure we need to succeed.”

The book, published by CBS-owned Simon & Schuster, includes an accounting for many of the missteps and strategic errors that Clinton said she made during the campaign, and for which she explicitly takes responsibility.

“The most important of the mistakes I made was using personal e-mail,” Clinton told Pauley. The book includes a lengthy defense of her decision, after becoming secretary of state, to use an e-mail account hosted on a server in the basement of her Chappaqua, N. Y., home for official business.

It also delves into an accounting of the investigations and media scrutiny she faced during the 2016 campaign.

Clinton, 69, pins particular blame on then-FBI director James Comey’s decision to speak publicly about his agency’s probe just days before the election.

She also discusses at length alleged Russian interference in the election, Trump’s ties to Russia, and developments through the first half of 2017.

Another mistake that Clinton laid out in the book was her decision to deliver paid speeches to Wall Street firms after leaving the State Department. While her speeches to investment bank Goldman Sachs Group and other companies were meant to be “interesting” to her audiences, they weren’t newsworthy, she wrote.

Still, they gave her opponents — first, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary race, and then Trump — ammunition to use against her.

Material from Bloomberg News was used in this report.