In her most overtly political remarks since losing the 2016 election, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave a rousing speech to several thousand women packed into a ballroom at Moscone Center West in San Francisco on Tuesday.
In 30-minute remarks, Clinton touched on her election loss and hinted about her next moves in public life, including advocating for workplace equity.
“Obviously the outcome of the election wasn’t the one I hoped for or worked for,” she said. “But I will never stop speaking out for commonsense benefits that will allow moms and dads to stay on the job.”
Clinton gave the closing address at a conference organized by the Professional BusinessWomen of California (PBWC). The theme was inclusion and advancing opportunities for women in business.
But in her opening remarks, she spoke more about politics and her one-time foe, Donald Trump, although she never mentioned him by name. Referencing his inaugural address, she said, “Where some see a dark vision of carnage I see a light shining on creativity and opportunity.”
She also noted last week’s defeat of the Republican health care bill, saying “when this disastrous bill failed, it was a victory for all Americans.” But she cautioned, “the other side never quits. Sooner or later, they’ll try again. We will have to fight back twice as hard. Not for the sake of politics, but because these are bad policies that will hurt people and take our country in the wrong direction.”
Clinton talked about the barriers remaining to women in the workplace, too, and told the crowd “don’t think it can’t happen to you.”
The former secretary of state and U.S. senator has made few public appearances since her unexpected loss to Trump. On St. Patrick’s Day, she spoke to the Society of Irish Women in Scranton, Pennsylvania, telling them she was “ready to come out of the woods” — a reference to post-election Clinton sightings in the forest near her home in Chappaqua, New York.
In a sign of Clinton regaining her stride after the election, she told the San Francisco crowd that she had a new four-word mantra: “Resist. Insist. Persist. Enlist.”
After her opening remarks, Clinton settled into a friendly, personal and safe conversation with Susie Tompkins Buell, a longtime confidante and campaign fundraiser who lives in San Francisco. They avoided tough political issues, discussing things like Clinton’s “amazing empathy” and personal resilience.
Clinton was a last-minute addition to the conference and her participation was announced less than two weeks ago. She is expected to speak at Georgetown University on Friday, where she’ll give awards to four women who helped promote the successful peace process in Colombia.
Other speakers at the day-long conference in San Francisco were Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Rep. Jackie Speier, who gave a pre-recorded message.