Former senator, former secretary of state, and Democratic candidate who won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election Hillary Clinton took a not-so-subtle jab at Trump during her Class Day speech at Yale.
She began her speech by noting the over-the-top hats students traditionally wear during Yale’s Class Day and said,
I brought a hat too—a Russian hat. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
Clinton, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1973, offered a powerful and poignant address that encouraged students to channel their resilience and contribute meaningfully to the future of democracy.
She jokingly referenced the manufactured scandals that engulfed her campaign, noting that she made sure to bury a tape of her singing acapella during her Yale days so deeply, she quipped, that not even WikiLeaks would be able to find it:
If you thought my emails were scandalous you should hear my singing voice!
Along the way, The Hill reports, she also poked fun at her unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign by referencing Michigan, a state she lost by just over 10,000 votes:
I am thrilled for all of you, even the three of you who live in Michigan and didn’t request your absentee ballots in time.
Later, speaking about her loss to Trump, she said,
No, I’m not over it. I still think about the 2016 election. I still regret the mistakes I made. I still think, though, that understanding what happened in such a weird and wild election in American history will help us defend our democracy in the future.
Clinton also used her speech to talk about the polarization in American politics and implore the students to work to uphold American democracy—and slammed Trump again:
We’re living through a time when fundamental rights, civic virtue, freedom of the press, even facts and reason are under assault like never before.
The radicalization of American politics hasn’t been symmetrical. There are leaders who blatantly incite people with hateful rhetoric. Waging a war on the rule of law and a free press, delegitimizing elections, perpetrating shameless corruption and rejecting the idea that our leaders should be public servants undermines our national unity.
She added that only “radical empathy” would be a substantial response to the issues plaguing the US:
Healing our country is going to take what I call radical empathy. As hard as it is, this is a moment to reach across divides of race, class and politics. To try to see the world through the eyes of people very different from ourselves and to return to rational debate.
As the Huffington Post noted, Clinton also highlighted the unprecedented levels of political and civic mobilization that have been kicked into gear since Trump’s victory, efforts she believes will help to defend democracy:
We are also witnessing an era of new moral conviction, civic engagement, and a sense of devotion to our democracy and country.
She urged students to demonstrate resilience even in simple ways, like in calling out fake news or subscribing to a newspaper to support quality journalism:
As obvious as it seems, it means voting. At this moment in our history, our country depends on every citizen believing in the power of their actions even when that power is invisible and their efforts feel like an uphill battle.
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