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Hillary Clinton: Trump White House 'could cause lasting damage'

6 things we learned from Clinton’s conversation at the Book Expo of America

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Julie Jacobson, File/AP

Hillary Clinton shared details about her upcoming memoir, offered advice for the next female presidential nominee, and expressed her concerns about the Trump administration during a conversation with author Cheryl Strayed (Wild) at the Book Expo of America in New York City on Thursday night.

The former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee also discussed an upcoming adaptation of her 1996 book, It Takes A Village, which is being reimagined as a children’s book designed to teach its younger readers about the concepts of citizenship and community service.

“The reason I was motivated to do it, may sound a little like déjà vu all over again,” Clinton said. “If you think back to those years, there were people in politics, in Congress who were making completely harmful proposals. … I thought there has to be a way to bring people together in a community.”

Here are six more revelations from Clinton’s conversation with Strayed.

1. Writing an election memoir was an ’emotional catharsis’ for Clinton

Clinton’s next book will detail her presidential campaign, which saw her become the country’s first female presidential nominee from a major party, win the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes, but lose the electoral college vote to business mogul Donald Trump.

Reliving those months proved to be a “meaningful and painful” experience, said Clinton. “You cannot make up what happened. … That’s why it’s such an incredible experience to try and write it. … It’s not only good for my mental health, it’s important for us to come to grips for what we need to do for the country in the future.”

2. She is ‘really worried’ about Trump and Russia

Clinton addressed the continuing investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia during the election.

“I’ve won races, I’ve lost races, but I’ve never felt the way I feel about this,” she said. “Obviously I’m particularly concerned about the role that Russia played, and the very serious interference that we know they were responsible for in our most fundamental democratic act. That, in some ways, is even more painful.”

She also compared her 2016 loss to Trump to her 2008 loss to Barack Obama. “It wasn’t fun losing, but I didn’t worry about my country,” said Clinton. “[Now] I am really worried. And I worry not just because there are partisan differences. We’re living in such an abnormal time when we look at the way this White House is behaving about some of the biggest challenges we face, the dishonesty and fabrication, and what you call ‘fake news’ or lies. It is deeply troubling. It is also worrisome that it could cause lasting damage to our institutions.”

3. She is inspired by the resilience of others

“I’ve seen in my life and gotten to know [people with the] the most extraordinary capacity to keep going,” said Clinton, pointing to people who have experienced the deaths of loved ones, struggled with disease, and survived natural disasters. “I don’t in any way compare myself with the really difficult, terrible times people have gone through.”

In her memoir, Clinton will address the challenges and barriers she faced — and how she overcame them. “You just get up every day and do the best you can. It’s literally one step in front of the other when you are fighting for something larger than yourself, which is what I’ve always believed.”

4. She is a big Nancy Drew fan

Clinton also revealed that she was a fan of Carolyn Keene’s popular teen detective book series when she was younger.

“I liked the earlier books better than the later ones, I’ll be honest. Nancy just seemed like such a go-getter and really smart and brave,” she said. “It was like a model for me and my friends. When I think back, I read a lot of books when I was growing up. She was, dare I say it, she was such a role model. I always felt so bad because her mother died. She was taking care of the house, going to school, and solving mysteries!”

Her love of mysteries continues to this day. Clinton, who described herself as a “very devoted mystery reader” cited Jacqueline Winspear, Maisie Dobbs, Donna Leon, and Louise Penny among her favorites. 

5. She advises the next female presidential candidate to read her book

Clinton says she wants the next female candidate who sets her sights on the White House to go in with her eyes wide open. “I want her to fully understand what she’s getting herself into,” said Clinton. “Because it is unlike any experience she has had before.”

She continued, “You have to be prepared for what it means to be literally brutalized. The things that will be said and the way that you will be treated kind of goes with the territory. Not to say that men don’t get harsh treatment or aren’t put in the spotlight. But you are carrying the burden of the double standard. And you have to know that.”

Clinton also addressed what it takes to mount a presidential campaign: “In our system, it doesn’t matter who you or what you’ve done, how qualified you are. It doesn’t matter. You can stand up and say, ‘I’m going to run for president.’ Then you have to go out and talk to the entire country, and you have to raise a lot of money, and you have to go through the gauntlet that American presidential campaigns are. I think there is some benefit to that. It is the hardest job in the world. Or at least it used to be.”

6. She has ‘no idea’ what’s next for her

What comes next after a failed White House bid? “I don’t have any reason to have any idea,” Clinton said. But she noted that as a “congenital organizer,” she will be remaining active. “I am going to do everything I can to support the resistance.”