"I want to ... strangle her," a former Hewlett-Packard employee said of Carly Fiorina

By Tierney McAfee
Updated November 11, 2015 02:25 PM
Credit: Scott Olson/Getty; Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty

Perhaps she should have “strangled” her laughter.

Hillary Clinton is under fire from conservatives for chuckling at a harsh comment a veteran made about Carly Fiorina during a roundtable in Derry, New Hampshire, on Tuesday.

The vet, who said he worked at Hewlett-Packard under former chief executive Fiorina before being laid off, remarked that when he sees the GOP hopeful on TV now: “I want to reach through and strangle her.”

Rather than distancing herself from the comment or admonishing the man – Clinton simply laughed.

“I know that doesn’t sound very nice,” added the veteran, Fred Walsh, who told NPR that he’s a volunteer for the Clinton campaign.

“I wouldn’t mess with you,” Clinton joked in response.

Republicans were quick to pounce on Clinton’s reaction, accusing the former secretary of state, Democrats, feminists and the media of a double standard.

The Republican National Committee said Clinton and Democrats had “lost all credibility claiming to be a party that stands up for women,” according to NPR.

Amanda Carpenter, a GOP strategist and former aide to Sen. Ted Cruz, tweeted, “Hillary is pretty much showing feminism at its worst. A weapon for some women to use to advance themselves, not all.”

And Fiorina’s spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores tweeted, “Let’s all watch @HillaryClinton’s media lapdogs explain why this is ok in 3, 2, 1….#whatbias.”

Clinton’s campaign released a statement dismissing the accusations and saying that the veteran was “using a figure of speech that should not be taken literally.”

“At today’s event, a veteran told a story about losing his job at HP, expressing his frustration at the way he was treated. He was using a figure of speech that should not be taken literally,” said Deputy Communications Director Christina Reynolds. “Hillary Clinton doesn’t hesitate to speak out against hateful or threatening rhetoric, but this vet did not intend to express either of those things, and Republicans should not try to pretend otherwise.”