Hillary Clinton has said that she does not intend to run for elected office again after her failed presidential bid of 2016, and instead hopes to focus on mentoring and advising young women who want to pursue political careers.
Speaking at the Women in the World summit in New York last week, Clinton said: “I am looking to do interesting things. I don’t think that will ever involve running for office again.”
The annual WITW summit is described as an event presenting “powerful new female role models whose personal stories illuminate the most pressing international issues”. During her speech at the conference, the Los Angeles Times reports that Clinton spoke about how she recovered from the emotional impact of losing to Donald Trump.
“The aftermath of the election was so devastating,” she said, adding: “I had to make up my mind I was going to get out of bed, yes; I was going to take walks in the woods, yes.”
“As a person, I’m OK,” she continued. “As an American, I’m pretty worried.”
Clinton said that she plans on working with organisations to encourage more women into politics.
“I’m going to spend a lot of my time encouraging young people, particularly young women, to go into politics, to go into public service,” she said.
“I believe that not only is it a worthy and very satisfying way to contribute, make a living, learn more, but we really need you,” she continued. “And we need more young people, and we particularly need more young women.”
When asked to explain why she had lost the election – and particularly why she had failed to win over white women, 53% of whom voted for Trump – Clinton said that simple answers were difficult to provide.
Trump’s win, she said, was the result of a melange of factors. She cited Russian interference in the election, WikiLeaks’ publication of embarrassing emails from her campaign chairman John Podesta, and FBI director James Comey’s statement about investigating her emails shortly before Election Day – as well as good old-fashioned sexism.
“Certainly, misogyny played a role,” Clinton said.
She added: “I think in this election there was a very real struggle between what is viewed as change that is welcomed and exciting to so many Americans, and change which is worrisome and threatening to so many others.
“You layer on the first woman president over that,” Clinton continued, “and I think some people, women included, had big problems.”
Watch: Book recommendations to help with heartbreak
While Clinton encouraged young women to consider a career in public office, she warned that they would inevitably encounter more abuse than their male counterparts.
“Every woman who enters the public arena needs to grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros,” she said, paraphrasing Eleanor Roosevelt. “Boy, do I relate to this.”
For her own part, Clinton said, her experiences in the election sometimes left her feeling as loathed and feared as “Typhoid Mary” – the first person in the United States identified as a symptomless carrier of typhoid fever, who was kept in forced isolation for nearly three decades.
However, she said that she tried not to be personally affected by people’s dislike – and shared her strategy for dealing with criticism as a public figure.
“I am not perfect, everybody knows that by now,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t know quite how to fix what they are concerned about, but I try. I take it seriously.
“But I don’t any longer, and haven’t for a long time, taken it personally,” she continued.
“Because part of the attacks … part of the bullying and part of the name calling — and that has certainly become more pervasive — is to crush your spirit and feel inadequate.
“And I just refused to do that – and that infuriated everyone.”
Images: Rex Features