Hillary Clinton on losing to Trump: ‘I had to go lie down. It was so excruciating’

US president has brought instability to world, former candidate tells Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ

Hillary Clinton: “There has been so much progress” in the North. “I don’t want to see it lost,” she told Ryan Tubridy

Hillary Clinton: “There has been so much progress” in the North. “I don’t want to see it lost,” she told Ryan Tubridy


The former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said Donald Trump is “injecting instability and unpredictability into a dangerous world”.

In an interview recorded for RTÉ’s The Late Late Show Ms Clinton spoke about what it felt like to lose last year’s election to Mr Trump and criticised his actions during the campaign and while in office.

Ms Clinton described the night of losing the election to Mr Trump as painful. “I would write my experiences and reflections in a diary, but I had to go lie down, because it was so excruciating,” she said. “The day started off with voting and all the excitement around that, and then that evening it was just incredible to get these reports which did not square at all with what we thought was going to happen.”

What Happened

Referring to her new book about her failed run, What Happened, Ms Clinton spoke about what she felt went wrong. “I was really running a campaign that was based on telling people what I would do as president, how we would work together, how we would pay for it,” she said. “He was running a reality-TV-show campaign, and I don’t think I figured that out well enough at all to be able to respond more effectively.”

Ms Clinton said she and her team were confident about winning the presidential election the night before the result. “I was in a state of shock. I had not prepared a concession speech. I knew it would be close: our elections have gotten to be partisan and end up being close.

“But I would have been disappointed and really unhappy if I had lost to a normal Republican, because I would have disagreed with a lot of the policies and actions they would take, but to lose to someone I believe profoundly was not ready for the job, was temperamentally unqualified for the job, was such a burden. I just thought, I’ve let everybody down, I let my country down, the world down; how did this happen that we’re ending up with someone who is injecting instability and unpredictability into a dangerous world?” she said.

“The speech he gave to the UN was a dark, dangerous, selfish speech, and it was provocative in the worst possible way, provoking not only the North Koreans, who we have to deal with, and the Iranians, after a deal I started to put a lid on their nuclear programme. Why would anyone want to unleash nuclear proliferation on our planet?”

“Devoted to the future of Ireland”

Ms Clinton also spoke about her special relationship with Ireland and said that she and her husband, the former US president Bill Clinton, are “devoted to the future” of the island. “I had the opportunity to work with Martin [McGuinness] and so many others on both sides of the sectarian divide in the North, and we forged a personal relationship,” she said.

“So when I was a first lady and a senator I tried to be supportive in every way I could, and when I was secretary of state I made it a point to continue that support in an official capacity, because I didn’t want the progress that had been made to be lost.

“Both my husband and I are extraordinarily interested in and devoted to the future of the island. What we have tried to do in both our public and our personal capacities has been to encourage, certainly, the peace process in the North but also to enjoy the friendships that we have developed. It has been an absolute privilege to be in some small way involved in everything that is going on.”

Ms Clinton also spoke about the impasse in Northern Ireland as talks to restore power-sharing remain unresolved after the collapse of the Northern Ireland Executive earlier this year.

“I am a little worried right now, to be very candid with you. I am listening to and hearing reports about the loggerheads people find themselves at. There has just been so much progress. I don’t want to see it lost.”