Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, does not mince words when it comes to expressing her contempt for the current occupants of the White House.
Chelsea sat down for a far-reaching interview with The Guardian to discuss her third children’s book, She Persisted Around The World, “a picture book in which she tells the stories of 13 extraordinary women through the ages, from Marie Curie to Malala Yousafzai, who persevered in the face of prejudice and changed history.”
Discussing bullying and Trump’s impact on children, The Guardian wrote that Clinton used to believe that the proper thing to do “about all the meanness” was to ignore it. However, “Now I’ve come to feel differently, because I think that the way that our president and many people around him have not only mainstreamed hate, but mainlined it, is so deeply dangerous.”
Continuing, The Guardian reported that “[Clinton’s] eyes fill with dismay as she cites the rising reports of bullying in schools cataloged by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
Not just the hundreds but now thousands of instances in schools across America, where children are citing the president as they’re demeaning a little girl, or they’re chanting ‘Build a wall’ in an attempt to demean and degrade brown children. So the reason, now, I no longer ignore it when people say hateful things to me on the street or on social media is, I think we have to shine a light. I think those of us who have platforms to do that have to say this is wrong and unacceptable, so we don’t normalize it but try to detoxify what has been unleashed. Because if we don’t, we leave a vacuum. And I think the darkness fills that vacuum. [emphasis added]
Asked if she has any advice for people in the U.K. considering whether or not to protest Trump’s anticipated visit, she responded that her children, Charlotte and Aidan, have attended rallies:
Well, I’ve been to multiple protests since the election. Charlotte’s been to at least three, maybe four. Aidan’s been to one. If I lived in Britain I would show up to protest, because I don’t agree with what he’s doing to degrade what it means to be an American. [emphasis added]
Asked if she felt any sympathy for First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, in the wake of her opening of the new embassy in Jerusalem and the accompanying bloodbath, The Guardian reported that Clinton’s “expression hardened” as she responded:
She’s an adult. She can make the choices for herself. I mean, she’s 36. We are responsible for our choices. In 2008 I was really proud to support my mum – but I disagreed with her fundamentally on a few things, particularly her then opposition to equal marriage rights for LGBTQ Americans. I never defended that position, because it wasn’t what I believed was the right thing to do.
Clinton was asked: “Were Ivanka to succeed her father in the White House, as some have speculated, would the election of the first female president still constitute a triumph for feminism?” She reponded:
Well, I didn’t support Sarah Palin when she was the vice-president nominee in 2008. And I hope my son is as much a feminist as my daughter. I think it is more about what we stand for, and how we do it, than the gender of the person there.
Continuing, she said she never would have worked in the White House had her mother been elected. Asked if “she shares others’ distaste at Trump employing his family,” she responded with harsh words regarding the Trump administration:
I think the president should be able to hire whoever he or she thinks are best qualified. I do not believe that many of the people that he has hired have been qualified to do the jobs. Not only do I want an administration that isn’t venal, corrupt and focused on making life harder for millions of Americans, I also want a competent administration. So for me, the larger question is the collision of cruelty and incompetence and corruption that we see across the administration. [emphasis added]
Asked if she thought Trump would be impeached, she expressed support for Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation:
I don’t think about that yet. But I strongly believe it’s important that Robert Mueller be allowed to continue his investigation [into Russian collusion in the election]. I’m more focused on what can I do to help elect Democrats.
Asked “how she would feel if Stormy Daniels were to take down the presidency,” she responded:
I haven’t followed that as closely as I have everything that’s emerging around the Russia investigation. But I do think it’s important that no one is above the law, and so whatever investigations come out of what Mueller’s doing, or the other ways in which many people are attempting to hold the president accountable, I think it’s important that those continue.
She concluded the interview, telling The Guardian that she has thought a lot about “intentions” since the death of former First Lady Barbara Bush:
I disagreed with her husband on so much, and with her on so much. But I also never doubted that she believed what she and her husband were fighting for was going to be to the benefit of most Americans. She really believed that what they were doing was the right thing to do.
I used to believe all that mattered was the bottom line of the outcome, like, how many lives were improved, how many people were saved, how many more people got to go to school without debt, how many people had healthcare, how many women got to have paid maternity leave. I still believe that is what matters most. But I also now believe that intentions and tone and decency matter, because I think the wreckage that we’re seeing at this moment is one that will, I hope, be repaired on the policy standpoint when we elect Democrats. But I think we will still then have work to do on repairing the tone in our country, the exposure of the real racist and sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic and antisemitic feeling which is on the rise in our country – a rot that has been exposed.
I think one of the big mistakes was, for so long, we focused on tolerance, which I just think is insufficient. People tolerated casual misogyny, but casual misogyny is maybe the gateway drug. We have freedom of speech, which I do think is hugely important – and yet people thought you couldn’t dispute hateful things, because they’re like – well, it’s freedom of speech. Well, freedom of speech doesn’t mean there is freedom of consequences.
Sure, you should not be in prison because you said something racist. But you also shouldn’t be able to run for president. And yet here we are. [emphasis added]