Hillary Clinton is adamant she has no regrets about her failed attempt to beat Donald Trump to the Oval Office, but wishes she’d watched his reality TV show The Apprentice.
Speaking in front of 8000 fans in Sydney on Friday night, Mrs Clinton was asked by long-time friend and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard if she regretted jumping into the tumultuous 2016 US presidential race against a billionaire who was famous for intimidating contestants on his TV show and for his catchphrase “You’re fired”.
“No I don’t think that at all,” Mrs Clinton said, to huge applause.
“Instead I think, boy, I should have watched The Apprentice.”
The audience lapped up the former secretary of state’s humorous quip, one of many during her 45-minute Q&A session with Ms Gillard that began with how she met husband Bill Clinton and ended with her revealing preferences for AFL over cricket, and meat pies over lamingtons.
Sandwiched in between was chat about what Mrs Clinton had learned from the campaign, which she dubbed the “first reality TV election” and one that was marred by Russian interference to help Mr Trump win the presidency, an investigation into her private emails and a vicious social media campaign.
Mrs Clinton described how she and her supporters were subjected to misogynistic social media posts featuring the “most foul, really horrible insults and accusations” during the presidential race.
She said the fact that many women were subjected to verbal violence online drives many away from social media because “when you are being constantly barraged it’s painful”.
As a result, women’s voices become “muted”.
“It’s a serious issue and it’s hard to know how to deal with it,” she said.
“The profanities, the swear words, it’s just become so common and it doesn’t seem like any of the tech companies are worried about that. It’s a slippery slope.”
Describing the Twitter-loving Mr Trump “an expert at insult”, Mrs Clinton recalled how he “stalked” her on stage during their second televised presidential candidate debate.
“It was very clear that Trump was stalking me, looming over me, trying to intimidate me and he was doing it very deliberately,” she said.
“He was sending a message to people watching, ‘Look I am the big person on the stage, this is what a president looks like’.”
Trump’s ‘eccentricities’ may have helped NK talks
However, Mrs Clinton acknowledged that Mr Trump’s eccentricities and inconsistencies may have helped pave the way for much-anticipated peace talks he is due to hold with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June.
She also noted though that South Korea’s desire to restart discussions as well as China’s increased focus on the totalitarian state would have helped.
“But the proof is in the pudding, which has not even yet been mixed,” she said.
“We don’t have any idea what will come and if there is some agreement it has to be a verifiable and sustainable agreement.
“That doesn’t happen by Tweeting about it, that happens from the hard work of putting together the pieces of an agreement that can hold.”
Mrs Clinton’s appearance in Sydney, and before a crowd of 5000 people in Melbourne on Thursday, was organised by Australian business events group The Growth Faculty.