In the months since the Democrats lost the 2016 presidential election, political watchers as well as ordinary citizens have analyzed what happened to cause what many thought should have been a win for Hillary Clinton over someone who was once thought of as unelectable.
But on Tuesday, Clinton let everyone know whose fault it was that she wasn’t giving the inaugural speech in January instead of Donald Trump: hers.
“I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate, I was the person who was on the ballot. I am very aware of the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had,” Clinton told CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour during the Women for Women International charity luncheon. She said she was “on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off.”
Comey, the director of the FBI, wrote a letter to Congress about Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server for official business when she was Secretary of State. His letter said he was reopening an investigation into the issue, but later found no malicious wrongdoing.
In the WikiLeaks scandal, Russian hackers are said to have broken into Democratic e-mail accounts then sent information from them to WikiLeaks, although definitive proof of this has never been established.
These things happened within two weeks of Election Day and Clinton is not the first person to say these factors contributed to her loss. Clinton won the popular vote by more than 3 million ballots, but Trump—who had more electoral votes—took the White House. She noted that the misogynistic remarks made by Trump during and before the campaign were a contributing factor.
“Yes, I do think it played a role. I think other things did as well,” she said.
But she also cited Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, who noted in a tweet that had the election been held Oct. 27, one day before Comey’s letter went public, Clinton would’ve been president.
Now that she is a private citizen once again, Clinton says she is still watching her former opponent, particularly the way he handles foreign policy. On North Korea, for example, she had focused advice on how to approach the tense situation with that nation.
“I don’t believe that we alone are able to really put the pressure on this North Korean regime that needs to be placed,” she said. “Now the North Koreans are always interested …in trying to get Americans to try to come to negotiate to elevate their status and their position and we should be very careful about giving that way.”