Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a few jabs at President Donald Trump and explained that she’s still dealing with the election loss during a commencement address at her alma mater, Yale Law School.
Clinton opened her speech by expressing her joy for the soon-to-be graduates, even for the “three of you who live in Michigan and didn’t request your absentee ballots in time.”
In keeping with the tradition of wearing fancy and funky hats, the former secretary of state brought one of her own — a Russian one.
“If you can’t beat em, join em,” she told the crowd.
Clinton reflected on her time at the school, when there were very few women in attendance, and her early meetings with her future husband, former President Bill Clinton.
She applauded Yale’s acapella group, the Whiffenpoofs, for going from an all-male group to a co-ed organization and used the moment to joke about her email controversy.
“As for my long lost Whiffs audition tape, I have buried it so deep, not even WikiLeaks will be able to find it,” she said. “If you thought my emails were scandalous, you should hear my singing voice.”
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Clinton quoted Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” and although the famous quote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” was about the precipice of the French Revolution, she noted it is also true of America today.
“We’re living through a time when fundamental rights, civic virtue, freedom of the press, even facts and reason are under assault like never before,” she told the future graduates.
“But we are also witnessing an era of new moral conviction, civic engagement, and a sense of devotion to our democracy and country,” she continued.
According to Clinton, the “good news” is that the people sitting in that room were more than prepared to “rise to the occasion” to “navigate this tumultuous moment.”Gage Skidmore/Flickr
The former secretary of state shared the difficult reality that they, just like everyone else, would fail in life but noted that the important lesson to learn from failure is to be resilient, which she used as a segue into discussing the 2016 election — again.
“I remember those first months after that 2016 election were not easy. We all had our own methods of coping,” she shared. “[…] No, I’m not over it. I still think about the 2016 election. I still regret the mistakes I made.”
Clinton, who has repeatedly discussed the election, explained that understanding the “weird and wild” election will “help us defend our democracy in the future.”Gage Skidmore/Flickr
“There are leaders in our country who blatantly incite people with hateful rhetoric, who fear change, who see the world in zero-sum terms so that if others are gaining, well, they must be losing,” she told attendees.
Clinton encouraged people to not think about leaders in terms of if I’m better off but “are we all better off,” pointed to the deportation of Melecio Andazola Morales, and called for “commonsense gun legislation.”
She concluded her speech with a reflection on the jubilance she felt when former President Barack Obama was elected and implored students to vote, not only in the presidential election but every election.