Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pointed to her willingness to speak to Wall Street firms and the poor “optics” of those highly paid appearances as a contributing factor for her loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
After facing rounds of criticism for taking too little or the wrong kind of responsibility for her loss, Clinton, 69, made a clear effort in the book to account for the mistakes that “burn me up inside.” Bloomberg News obtained a copy of the book before its official release.
One mistake Clinton describes in the book was her decision to deliver paid speeches to Wall Street firms after leaving the State Department in 2013. While her speeches to investment bank Goldman Sachs and other companies were meant to be “interesting” to her audiences, they weren’t newsworthy, she wrote. Still, they gave her opponents — first, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary race, and then Trump — ammunition to use against her.
“My opponents spun wild tales about what terrible things I must have said behind closed doors and how as president I would be forever in the pocket of the shadowy bankers who had paid my speaking fees. I should have seen that coming,” Clinton wrote. “When you know why you’re doing something and you know there’s nothing more to it and certainly nothing sinister, it’s easy to assume that others will see it the same way.”
Ultimately, it was “a mistake,” she said.
“Just because many former government officials have been paid large fees to give speeches, I shouldn’t have assumed it would be okay for me to do it,” Clinton wrote. “Especially after the financial crisis of 2008-2009, I should have realized it would be bad ‘optics’ and stayed away from anything having to do with Wall Street. I didn’t. That’s on me.”
Watching Trump now, Clinton said, she’s angered by his embrace of financial industry officials, including former Goldman Sachs executives Steven Mnuchin, now Treasury secretary, and Gary Cohn, director of the White House’s National Economic Council.
“When I read the news that he filled his team with Wall Street bankers after relentlessly accusing me of being their stooge, I nearly threw the remote control at the wall,” Clinton wrote.
“What Happened,” published by CBS-owned Simon & Schuster, includes an accounting for many of the missteps and strategic errors that Clinton said she made during the campaign, and for which she explicitly takes responsibility.
(c) 2017, Bloomberg · Jennifer Epstein