The Speech I Wish Hillary Would Give
He called me a nasty woman, so here we are. I’m here to show Donald what a nasty woman looks like. What a nasty woman can do. I’m here to tell you that I am officially putting my campaign’s resources behind challenging Donald Trump, because the American people voted for me by close to three million votes. The people voted, and they voted for me. As a public servant, I listen to the people, and I fight for a government that responds to their demands.
To come here tonight, to face you, has been a difficult decision. I feel ashamed; I feel exhausted; I feel, in a deep way, that this move is courting danger. In fact, I have tried, for most of my life, to not be a nasty woman: to have a respectable career, to be a loyal wife, a devoted mother, a public servant. When it seemed, on November 8th, that I had not been elected, I did the least nasty thing I could do: I conceded, quickly and cleanly, in deference to our nation’s traditions and institutions, and with respect for the smooth transition of power.
Since then, along with millions of Americans, I have watched aghast as Trump surrounded himself with some of the most despicable, unqualified, and antagonistic individuals on our political scene. For his future attorney general he chose Jeffrey Sessions, a man whose nomination by President Reagan to serve as a federal judge in Alabama was denied by the Senate Judiciary Committee because of a record of forthright racist statements. For Secretary of Education, he chose Betsy DeVos, a billionaire with no experience around public education aside from a personal vendetta to privatize public schools and gut labor unions. But perhaps most horrifying has been his selection of Steve Bannon as special advisor, a man with a powerful record of racist, white supremacist, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic speech. Meanwhile, Donald has refused to distance himself from the hundreds of domestic terrorists invoking his name as they commit hate crimes against Black, Muslim, Jewish, Latino, and female Americans.
There’s more. In a mere few weeks, Donald has flouted US diplomatic policy and already endangered our interests around the world. Following his historical refusal to release his tax returns, he has refuse to divest himself of his business interests and is already actively mixing his business interests with the office of the presidency. Ethics lawyers for both President Obama and President Bush agree that Donald is in danger of violating the Constitution on his first day in office. He has held diplomatic meetings with his children present, who run his businesses, has already angered China, a world superpower with whom we have a delicate and important relationship, and is cozying up to some of the most dangerous strongmen around the world, including Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Kim Jong Un of North Korea, and his old friend Vladimir Putin.
I recognize that there are many Americans horrified by Donald’s movement toward the White House who nevertheless do not wish me to be president. To them I say: get over it. I was Secretary of State. I was Senator of New York. I am a lawyer, yes, with a law degree. Most importantly, on November 8, 2016, the clear majority of Americans voted for me, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to be the 45th president of the United States of America. [Thunderous applause.] I won a larger majority of the popular vote than several presidents in recent memory who went on to be president, and no presidential candidate has ever lost after having won as large of a majority of the votes as I have. Americans voted, and their message was clear: I may be nasty, but Donald, you’re the loser.
Recounts are underway as we speak in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, despite being heavily fought by Donald’s people as well as the Republican establishment at federal, state, and local levels. Yet Donald himself suggested that millions of people voted illegally, itself a clear indication that these votes should be recounted. Further, the calculations of the Electoral College deeply challenge the constitutional right of every citizen to equal protection under the law, the time-honored principle of one man — or woman — one vote.
Given these grave concerns, I have directed my team to energetically pursue every recourse possible to challenge the election of Donald Trump to the highest office of the land. This man is a bigot, a careless provocateur, and an enemy of the Constitutional rights to free speech, free press, and free practice of religion. Since the election, he has doubled down on his most incendiary promises while sharply backing away from his populist economic policies and his support for America’s workers. To the American people, I plead with you to see: Donald does not care about you. He does not care about working people, about poor people, about vulnerable people. His proposed cabinet would be the richest in the history of this nation. He is a con artist. As a public servant, it is my duty to fight, with every fiber of my being, the biggest con of all.
My rival in the primary, Bernie Sanders, always said his campaign wasn’t about him, it was about you. Well, this isn’t about me. I’m tired. I could retreat. But the stakes are high, too high, and as Donald also said, I’ve got stamina. We’ve spent eight years watching Republicans in Congress fight President Obama’s every proposal, every action, with stonewalling and disrespect. My fellow citizens have reached out to me, demanding I get the message: the time for compromise is over. For the future of this country, it’s time for Democrats — for me — to get nasty.
America, I’m ready for this fight, but I need your help. I’ll need your help in counting ballots in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, in gathering affidavits in Florida and Arizona, in pressuring your electors in Texas, in Iowa, in North Carolina. I may or may not have been your candidate before, but I’ll be damned — we all will — if you won’t stand up for me now. We will not go gently into this dark night. We will fight — we’ll give it everything we’ve got. Join me, join your fellow Americans, in fighting for the future you already voted for. Thank you.