Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Trevor Noah mostly fails to get Hillary Clinton to say I told you so

Trevor Noah, Hillary Clinton
Trevor Noah, Hillary Clinton
Screenshot: The Daily Show

Look, nobody would be at all surprised if popular vote winner and career politician Hillary Clinton were uninterested in helping us out right now. That is, if she were like non popular vote-getter and dictionary illustration of soulless narcissism and petty middle school bullying Donald Trump. But, as former Secretary of State Clinton told Trevor Noah on Monday’s socially distanced Daily Show, even without a country to run, she’s been far too busy to sit back and tell America how it’s on its own to fix the utterly broken thing it bought. Saying that an “I’m free, screw whatever” retirement philosophy might be on the table for someone whose every prediction about the sort of authoritarian, pandemic-riddled, farcical mess has come all-too-depressingly to pass, Noah unsuccessfully kept prodding Clinton to spitefully poke America back.

Still, as Noah put it when talking about the new Hulu documentary series about her life and career, the post-2016 Hillary Clinton seems freer, now that, as Clinton herself put it, she’s “not running for anything” ever again. And while Noah’s description of Clinton’s “swag” didn’t erupt into any childish but cathartic name-calling during the extended interview, the former First Lady wasn’t holding much back, either. From calling out Republicans’ blatant strategy of “try[ing] to prevent as many people they think wont vote from them from voting,” to themselves-fraudulent GOP talking points about mail-in voter fraud (Donald Trump votes by mail), to the banana republic corruption of Trump freeing the seven-time felon convicted of helping him steal a presidential election through foreign interference, Clinton wasn’t playing. On that latter Trump-ian denigration of the rule of law, Clinton said simply, “He’s fearful, finally, we will see how illegitimate his victory actually was.”


Okay, that’s a burn, although, unlike what she called Trump’s signature “total hostility toward science, evidence, facts, logic, reason,” one based in this, all-too-present reality. Noting that she’s been spending her time actually living like a human being for once (grandkids, woods walks, a good book or two), Clinton also explained how she’s been putting her political efforts into Democracy Docket, one of the groups filing lawsuits wherever the Republican assaults on voting rights are focused most strongly. (Meaning against younger voters, minority voters, swing states, and anywhere else the GOP knows it’s screwed should citizens get to actually vote.) “That’s the real danger to the integrity of our elections,” Clinton stated unequivocally, refuting specious GOP voter fraud propaganda with, one might say, presidential authority.

Admitting that all this free time (coupled with the isolation of social distancing) has allowed her to see that “the pressures of being in public life” undoubtedly cost her some support by making her “a little less available and open,” Clinton yet pointed to good old American misogyny as a major contributing factor in her not being in he White House right now. Calling her candidacy “litmus test” as to whether “you’re comfortable with women” holding positions of authority, Clinton told Noah that her advice to those working to become the country’s first woman president is that “you will be criticized no matter what you do,” so it’s imperative to have “something bigger than yourself” to fight for. And while that might qualify as a subtle slam at copiously noted egomaniac Donald Trump, there was nothing subtle about Clinton’s assessment of Trump as a “reality TV star” who “bend[s] reality to suit his own purposes”, someone who “appeals to the basest instincts among us,” and whose “absolute disregard for the rule of law” has done more damage to America than many thought possible. Although, you know, not her. As she told Noah, “It breaks my heart, because I tried to warn people.” That might be something of an “I told you so,” but we deserve it—and Clinton’s entitled if anyone ever was.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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