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Hillary Clinton memoir: From attending Trump’s wedding to feeling like Cersei Lannister

Hillary Clinton’s book What Happened is an account of her loss to Donald Trump in the presidential election.

world Updated: Sep 14, 2017 12:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at an event to promote her memoir,
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at an event to promote her memoir, "What Happened" in New York City. (AFP)

Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state and the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, is on an extensive book tour for her memoir ‘What Happened’, that goes into detail about her loss to Donald Trump.

The 469-page memoir is creating waves for Hillary’s surprising candour, and her forthright way of tackling thorny subjects, from her bitter rivalry with Bernie Sanders to her email scandal and her reaction to losing to Trump.

“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down,” she writes in the introduction. Packed with anecdotes, the memoir

Here are ten revelations from Clinton’s memoir:

1.Why she attended Trump’s wedding

A photo of Hillary and Bill Clinton with Donald Trump and wife Melania on their 2005 wedding day often pops up on social media. But in ther book, Hillary says they weren’t close at all, and were probably invited to increase the event’s “star power”. She went because she thought it would be a “gaudy spectacle” (she says it was). Plus, Bill and she happened to be in the area.

2. Advice from Obama

It was Obama who encouraged her to run for president, as he thought she was the party’s “best chance”.

The former president also asked her to ease up her attacks against Bernie Sanders during the primaries, since they didn’t want to alienate Bernie’s core base.

3. Bernie Sanders

Sanders comes in for critique in the book, as Hillary talks about how he “hung on to the bitter end”. But Hillary appreciates him for formally nominating her at the Democratic National Convention.

4. Strangers apologise to her for not voting

After the election results, people have often come up to her to apologise for not voting in the polls. “These people were looking for absolution I just couldn’t give.”

5. Huma Abedin

After a batch of emails from Clinton were found on Anthony Weiner’s computer during an FBI investigation into his texting lewd messages with a minor, his ex-wife and Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin burst into tears. “This man will be the death of me,” said Abedin.

6. It’s tough being a woman

During her campaign and after, Clinton has often focused on how sexism dogs women in politics. But in her book, she reveals some little-known details: how much time she had to spend getting her makeup done on the campaign trail, how she hired a linguistics expert to coach her on the way to talk during rallies. “I’ve never gotten used to how much effort it takes just to be a woman in the public eye,” she writes.

She also describes in detail how Trump constantly invaded her space during the second primary debate, “looming” behind her and making faces. “My skin crawled”, she writes. She says she chose to keep calm and carry on, though ‘option B’ would be to say to his face, “Back up, creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you cannot intimidate me.”

7. Trump’s supporters made her feel like Cersei Lannister

Crowds at Trump’s rallies made her feel like Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones evil queen. Hillary writes that Trump’s supporters asked for her imprisonment and “shouted ‘Guilty! Guilty!’ like the religious zealots in Game of Thrones shouting ‘Shame! Shame!’ while Cersei Lannister walked back to the Red Keep.”

8. She’s not the antichrist

In one of the anecdotes in the book, Hillary describes her awkward run-in with then-Representative Ryan Zinke on the day Trump was sworn in as president. In 2014, Zinke had called her the ‘antichrist’. So when he came over with his wife to say hello, she told Zinke, “You know, congressman, I’m not actually the antichrist.”

Zinke was taken aback and said he hadn’t meant it. “One thing I have learned over the years is how easy it is for some people to say horrible things about me when I’m not around but how hard it is for them to look me in the eye and say it to my face,” she writes.

9. Vladimir Putin is a manspreader

When I sat with Putin in meetings,” Clinton recalls, “he looked more like one of those guys on the subway who imperiously spread their legs wide, encroaching on everyone else’s space, as if to say, “I take what I want,” and “I have so little respect for you that I’m going to act as if I’m lounging at home in my bathrobe.”

10. She was ‘shell-shocked’ by her defeat

Clinton is pretty frank in describing election night and her shock at losing to Trump.

“I hadn’t prepared mentally for this at all. There had been no doomsday scenarios playing out in my head in the final days, no imagining what I might say if I lost. I just didn’t think about it,” she said.

Her concession call to Trump was short, like calling “a neighbour to tell them you can’t make it to their barbecue”.

First Published: Sep 14, 2017 11:51 IST

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