NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that sexism played a role in her loss to Donald Trump but FBI Director James Comey and intervention by Russia were more decisive factors in her downfall.
Comey’s announcement in October that he would reopen an investigation into Clinton’s email server and Russian-backed moves by WikiLeaks scared off potential voters, Clinton said in an interview at Women for Women International, a global charity.
Clinton, who served as Secretary of State under President Obama, was projected as the heavy favorite but lost to Republican Trump in the Nov. 8 election. Had she won, she would have been the nation’s first woman president.
Asked on Tuesday by interviewer Christiane Amanpour of CNN if sexism played a part in her loss, Clinton said: “I do think it played a role.
“It is real. It is very much a part of the landscape politically, socially and economically,” she said.
Clinton promised to address sexism in her new book to be published this fall. She called writing the book “a painful process” of reliving the campaign.
Saying she “absolutely” takes responsibility for her loss, Clinton placed blame on the FBI’s Comey, who sent a letter to Congress days before the election saying he was reinstating an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, and on Russian intervention.
WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy group, released Democratic emails during the campaign that U.S. intelligence agencies say were hacked by Russia to try to tilt the race against Clinton.
“I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter of October 28 and Russian Wikileaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off,” she said.
“The evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling, persuasive.”
If the election had been held on Oct. 27, she said: “I would be the president.”
Under Trump, she cautioned, progress in women’s rights issues - such as equal pay - is in jeopardy.
“I think we are not just at a stalled point. I think we are potentially going backwards.”
But she declared herself geared up to stay politically active and involved with the Trump opposition, for whom “Resist” has become a popular slogan.
“I’m now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance,” the 69-year-old Clinton said.
Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org