A weary-looking Hillary Clinton said Wednesday evening at her first public appearance since she conceded to Donald Trump that she considered cancelling her speech to the children’s advocacy group but kept the commitment out of respect for her mentor.
‘I will admit coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing for me,’ she said at the Children’s Defense Fund’s gala in Washington, D.C.
The failed presidential candidate said ‘there have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do is just to curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house again.’
Quoting the organization’s founder, Marian Wright Edelman, Clinton said, ‘Service is the rent we pay for living.’
‘You don’t get to stop paying rent just because things don’t go your way’, Clinton said.
Clinton said she drew inspiration Edelman as she prepared for the speaking engagement she agreed to before her stunning defeat in the presidential election.
‘If there’s anyone who knows how to pick yourself up, and get back on your feet and get to work, it is Marian,’ Clinton said. ‘She has been doing it all of her life, and she has been helping the rest of us do it, too.’
Clinton interned for Edelman during law school. She came back to work for her at the newly formed, Massachusetts-based non-profit, the Children’s Defense Fund, when she graduated.
Edelman and others in the room tonight reminded her that when ‘you get knocked down, you get back up,’ Clinton said.
The arc of moral universe can ‘feel awfully long,’ said Clinton, reciting Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famed observation that it ‘bends toward justice.’
‘Believe me – I would know,’ she said to laughter.
Clinton told attendees,’I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election.
‘I am too, more than I can ever express.
‘Our campaign was never about one person or even one election – it was about the country that we love and about building an America that is hopeful inclusive and big-hearted,’ she said.
In spite of her defeat at the ballot box, Clinton said, ‘We have work to do.’
‘I ask you to stay engaged, stay engaged on every level,’ she said. ‘That’s how we get through this. That’s how we make our contribution.’
Clinton told them frankly, ‘I know this isn’t easy. I know over the past week that a lot of people have asked themselves whether this was the country that we thought it was.’
‘But please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our country is worth it,’ she said and ‘we must ‘fight for our values and never ever give up.’
The former first lady and secretary of state who has been criticized for her dogged pursuit of high-profile positions told gala attendees, ‘I didn’t get into public service to hold high office.’
Forty-five years ago, when she began her work at the Children’s Defense Fund, Clinton, the first woman to win a major party’s presidential nomination, that would have been ‘wrong-headed,’ she said.
Clinton said in the short, 20-minute speech that lasted half as long as the ones she delivered daily on the stump, that she still believes that Americans are ‘stronger together – her campaign slogan.
This is ‘still the greatest country in the world,’ she said. ‘It’s up to each and every one of us.’
While Clinton was a student at Yale Law School she went undercover at the behest of Edelman, visiting private schools in the South and evaluating their treatment of black students.
As a staff attorney at the Children’s Defense Fund Clinton spearheaded a project to determine why so many young people were not in school
Even after Clinton moved on professionally, relocating to Washington to work on the House’s Watergate committee and later to Arkansas to be with Bill, eventually becoming the state’s first lady, she stayed on the non-profit’s board.
They parted ways after 20 years when her husband became President of the United States.
Edelman called her a ‘dear friend’ at the Wednesday gala.’
‘I am so proud of her in so many ways,’ Edelaman said. She has always been able to figure out how to get done whatever needed to get done, and I’ve always appreciated her for that.’
The 45-year friend of the former first lady ran down Clinton’s accomplishments, stopping as she reached her nomination to the Democratic nomination so the audience could clap.
Edelman declared Clinton the winner of the national popular vote and told her organization’s backers, ‘We’re gonna say she is the people’s president.’
‘She is our president,’ Edelman proclaimed to applause.
One day, Edelman said a woman like her daughter or granddaughter will one day sit in the Oval Office – ‘and we can thank Hillary Rodham Clinton for that.’
Clinton’s only public remarks about her defeat prior to Wednesday event were in her concession speech, a week ago in New York City.
She reflected on her loss in a private call with donors over the weekend, telling them FBI Director James Comey was largely responsible.
‘There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,’ she said. ‘But our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.’
‘Just as we were back up on the upward trajectory, the second letter from Comey essentially doing what we knew it would—saying there was no there there—was a real motivator for Trump’s voters,’ she stated.
Clinton told her backers, ‘Trump spent the last four days of this campaign engaged in a nonstop attack on me personally, and the result is the result.’
Source: Daily Mail UK