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‘Meant no disrespect’: Hillary Clinton on her comments on women voters

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton faced flak for her controversial comments recently in India about how women voters in 2016 presidential elections were more swayed by men.

world Updated: Mar 19, 2018 20:31 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New York
Hillary Clinton,Women voters,US Presidential elections
File photo of Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton. (Reuters Photo)

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who faced flak for her controversial comments recently in India about how women voters in 2016 presidential elections were more swayed by men, says she meant no disrespect to any individual or group.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Clinton referred to her remarks at the India Today Conclave in Mumbai, saying her comments “in passing” about women “unfortunately” being more swayed by men in the 2016 Presidential elections got a lot of “negative attention.”

“I was also asked about women, specifically white women, the majority of whom have not voted for Democrats in recent history. I did better with them than previous Democratic nominees, but still lost them overall to a candidate who relies on scare tactics and false attacks, masking the fact that he is otherwise no friend to most Americans,” the 70-year-old former presidential candidate said in the post.

She said her comments that there is anecdotal evidence and some research to suggest that “women are unfortunately more swayed by men than the other way around” received negative feedback from various quarters.

“I understand how some of what I said upset people and can be misinterpreted. I meant no disrespect to any individual or group. And I want to look to the future as much as anybody,” she said in the post.

In particular she said the party struggled to attract married, white women because of “a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should”.

Speaking at the recently-concluded India Today Conclave in Mumbai, Clinton suggested that those people who supported Trump did so because they did not like black people getting rights, women getting jobs or Indian-Americans succeeding more than them.

“You know, you didn’t like black people getting rights. You don’t like women, you know, getting jobs. You don’t want to see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are. Whatever your problem is, I’m going to solve it,” Clinton had said during the conclave.

Clinton further wrote in the post that as much as she “hate(s)” the possibility, and “hate saying it, it’s not that crazy when you think about our ongoing struggle to reach gender balance – even within the same household. I did not realise how hard it would hit many who heard it.”

Explaining her comments, she said the issue about women voters was one piece of a larger point about how Democrats need to do better with white women.

“Do I believe that some women look at a powerful woman and question whether she can lead, maybe voting for the man their husband is voting for instead? It may not be universally true or easy to hear, but yes, it’s a dynamic still at play in our society,” she said.

She said when she was serving in various roles in public life, she was always more popular when she was working for or defending a man then when she was out there on her own.

“That’s the point I was making, in an effort to explain to an audience some of the many dynamics that have gone into these tumultuous last few years,” she said.

Attacking US President Donald Trump to whom she lost, Clinton said, he has “done nothing positive” so far to ease the pain of the people who most strongly supported him.

She stressed in the Facebook post that America’s future requires the nation to learn from the outcome of 2016.

“We need to protect our election systems from intrusion by Russia or anyone else. We need to combat voter suppression and the propagation of fake and misleading news. I fear we are not doing anywhere near enough on those fronts, and I know we can do better.”

First Published: Mar 19, 2018 19:29 IST