Hillary Clinton (AP/Matt Rourke)

"My skin crawled": Hillary Clinton describes debate with Donald Trump in excerpts from new book

"Back up, you creep, get away from me." Clinton reveals she might have handled one encounter with Trump differently


Taylor Link
August 23, 2017 1:54PM (UTC)

Hillary Clinton cannot redo the 2016 presidential elections, but her upcoming memoir, titled "What Happened," relives moments from the campaign she wishes she could "go back and do over."

One moment of the race she expands upon was from the second presidential debate, when then-Republican nominee Donald Trump continuously hovered around Clinton during her questions.

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"My skin crawled," Clinton said of the experience. "It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching 'well, what would you do?'"

Clinton said she had two options in that scenario: Either ignore Trump and carry on with her answers, or turn to her opponent and say, "back up, you creep, get away from me."

The latter option "certainly would have been better TV," she added. "Maybe I have over-learned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world."

Clinton was clearly in a lose-lose situation. If she did call out Trump for looming behind her, critics would have accused her of having thin skin, an unseemly trait for a U.S. president who has to confront world leaders. If she didn't call out Trump, critics would have somehow found a way to say it was a sign of weakness.

Regardless, Clinton said in the early parts of her memoir that the book will not necessarily take a comprehensive look at how she lost the 2016 election.

"That's not for me to write. I have too little distance and too great a stake in it. Instead, this is my story. I want to pull back the curtain on an experience. It was exhilarating, joyful, humbling, infuriating and just plain baffling. Writing this wasn't easy," Clinton explained.

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"I couldn't get the job done," she said. "And I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life."


Taylor Link

Taylor Link is an assistant editor at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2016 Presidential Debates Donald Trump Elections 2016 Hillary Clinton Sexual Harassment

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