Presidential nominee writes about perception that she is 'walled off'

By Derek Lawrence
September 08, 2016 at 08:34 PM EDT
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton says she understands people often see her as “aloof or cold or unemotional,” but in a new Facebook post, she says it’s a product of having to learn at a young age to “control” her emotions.

Writing on Humans of New York, a site that includes portraits of New Yorkers and short stories from their lives, the Democratic presidential nominee recalled taking the law school admissions test at Harvard, where she was among only a few other women in the room.

“While we’re waiting for the exam to start, a group of men began to yell things like: ‘You don’t need to be here,’” she wrote. “And ‘There’s plenty else you can do.’ It turned into a real ‘pile on.’ One of them even said: ‘If you take my spot, I’ll get drafted, and I’ll go to Vietnam, and I’ll die.’ And they weren’t kidding around. It was intense. It got very personal. But I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t afford to get distracted because I didn’t want to mess up the test. So I just kept looking down, hoping that the proctor would walk in the room.”

Many of Clinton’s detractors have criticized her for what she calls seeming “walled off,” which she addresses. During Wednesday night’s NBC News’ Commander-in-Chief Forum, Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, tweeted, “@HillaryClinton was angry + defensive the entire time – no smile and uncomfortable – upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets.”

Clinton continued in her post addressing such perceptions and how instances like her experience so many years ago in that room at Harvard shaped how she handles herself.

“I know that I can be perceived as aloof or cold or unemotional,” she said. “But I had to learn as a young woman to control my emotions. And that’s a hard path to walk. Because you need to protect yourself, you need to keep steady, but at the same time you don’t want to seem ‘walled off.’ And sometimes I think I come across more in the ‘walled off’ arena. And if I create that perception, then I take responsibility. I don’t view myself as cold or unemotional. And neither do my friends. And neither does my family. But if that sometimes is the perception I create, then I can’t blame people for thinking that.”

Read Clinton’s full remarks below.