Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton relived the night of the second presidential debate, when “creep” Donald Trump “was looming behind me” and “making faces” at her, during an excerpt she read from her upcoming book Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Clinton has acknowledged repeatedly that she has been struggling to come to terms with Trump’s stunning Election Day victory on November 8. In her upcoming book, called “What Happened,” she plans to tell her side of the contentious presidential election and explain why she lost against nearly all odds.
But in a particularly dramatic excerpt, Clinton chose to inform “Morning Joe” viewers of the “incredibly uncomfortable” moment she experienced when Trump drew closer to her during the course of the debate.
“This is not OK, I thought. It was the second presidential debate, and Donald Trump was looming behind me,” Clinton read from her book. “Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces.”
“It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled,” Clinton continued. “It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do? Do you stay calm, keep smiling, and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up you creep, get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me. So back up.'”
Clinton ultimately choose to follow “option A,” even under the extreme discomfort she experienced when Trump moved away from his podium and stood closer to her on the stage.
“I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off,” Clinton said. “I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder, though, whether I should have chosen option B. It certainly would have been better TV. Maybe I have over-learned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.”
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee did offer “Morning Joe” viewers an explanation of why she chose to chronicle her side of the presidential election and her humiliating loss to Trump, which shocked the country.
“I want to pull back the curtain on an experience that was exhilarating, joyful, infuriating, and just plain humbling,” Clinton said. “Every day I was a candidate for president, I knew millions of people were counting on me. And I couldn’t bear the idea of letting them down. But I did. I couldn’t get the job done, and I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
Although Clinton took some time off from the spotlight following her loss to Trump, she began reasserting herself a few months into the Trump administration, as she jabbed at the president and his policies and offered a wide range of explanations for why her campaign failed. Many of these explanations had nothing to do with her own conduct or her own negatives as an unpopular candidate.
In particular, Clinton pinned the bulk of the blame on misogyny, former FBI Director James Comey, the presidential debate moderators, and Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“I was on the way to winning when a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off,” Clinton said during an interview back in May at a Women for Women forum, conducted by CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
(photo credit, homepage and article images: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)