Speaking at a Children’s Defense Fund benefit in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton urged her supporters not to give up fighting in the face of Donald Trump’s impending presidency.
“I will admit coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing for me,” Clinton said, in her first public comments since conceding the presidential election to Trump last week. “There have been a few times this past week where all I wanted to do is curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave our house again.”
But Clinton argued against retreating from the world in her brief speech, given at a fundraiser for the organization that launched her career as an activist for children and families 45 years ago. Her mentor Marian Wright Edelman, the group’s founder, introduced her to the crowd as “our president,” highlighting the fact that Clinton won the popular vote last Tuesday.
Clinton sounded a less defiant note, but asked her supporters to pick themselves up and continue to fight for their principles in the face of defeat. “I often quote Marian when she says that ‘Service is the rent we pay for living,'” Clinton said. “Well, you don’t get to stop paying rent just because things don’t go your way.“
Clinton shared some of her personal pain at her loss last week. “I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of this election,” she said. “I am, too. More than I can ever express.”
But she insisted that things would get better, and emphasized what she sees as one positive development that came out of what was an unprecedentedly nasty campaign. “For the first time ever, a broad consensus emerged about the importance of affordable quality child care and paid family leave,” Clinton said, referring to the Trump campaign’s proposals in those areas.
But she also appeared to obliquely criticize Trump, saying, “No child should be afraid to go to school because they’re African-American or Latino or have a disability,” possibly in reference to reports of bullying in schools since Trump’s victory. She also highlighted the plight of a young girl who fears that her parents could be deported.
“The divisions laid bare by this election run deep, but please listen to me when I say that America is worth it. Our children are worth it,” she said.
“Believe in our country, fight for our values and never, ever give up.”