Less than a year after Donald Trump won the presidential election and was inaugurated as President of the United States, many people still struggle to come to grips with this unexpected reality. One of those people is Trump’s former opponent, Hillary Clinton, who recently wrote a book trying to make sense of what had happened to her and everyone else. One of the things Clinton describes at length in What Happened is the strange experience of attending her victorious opponent’s presidential inauguration. She elaborated on it in a new interview on The Graham Norton Show.
First of all, Clinton says she didn’t even want to attend the ceremony. She went not as the losing candidate but as a former first lady, and even then, she told Norton, she and her husband Bill Clinton tried to see if there was a way out.
“We thought maybe others aren’t going. So we called the Bushes,” Clinton said. “The elder Bushes were in the hospital, which I think was legitimate. So then we called the younger Bushes and they said, ‘Yeah, we’re going.’ Then we called the Carters and they said, ‘Yeah, we’re going.’ So Bill and I said, ‘Oh, we have to go.’ ”
Despite the acrimony of her campaign battles against Trump, Clinton said she still had hopes for his inaugural speech —and soon found herself disappointed.
“What I wanted to have happen was, despite the kind of campaign he ran, I wanted him to rise to the occasion of being our president, and being the president of everybody, not just people who supported him. That didn’t happen,” Clinton said. “So we were sitting there and we were listening, I was sitting next to George W. Bush and Bill was on my other side, and we were listening to this really dark, divisive speech that I describe as ‘a cry from the white nationalist gut.’ I was so disappointed and really so sad that it wasn’t an outreach, it was a narrowing and a hammering of what he said before.”
Watch the full clip above.