On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton walked onto the set of “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” as The Roots played the theme song to the classic ’70s sitcom “What’s Happening.” The “Tonight Show” house band played the bouncy Henry Mancini tune as a subtle nod to the former secretary of state’s memoir “What Happened,” which she discussed with host Jimmy Fallon. The two also discussed her children’s book “It Takes a Village,” her thoughts on President Trump’s response to Puerto Rico’s extensive hurricane damage and her hopes for the country’s future.
Here are some of the most interesting takeaways from their interview.
On losing the election to Trump
Fallon asked if Clinton would have felt differently about losing the election if her opponent had been someone other than Trump.
“I would have. Yeah, I’ve thought about that a lot,” she said. “If I had lost to another Republican — somebody who I disagreed with, but who I thought was temperamentally capable of being president, who would take the job, and the awesome responsibility seriously — of course I’d be disappointed, but I wouldn’t be so worried about my country and the world as I am now.”
On the Trump administration’s response to storm-torn Puerto Rico
Clinton recalled urging the administration (in a tweet several weeks ago) to send naval assets to Puerto Rico, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria.
“It’s hard to figure out,” she said. “What are the priorities if 3.5 million Americans — and Puerto Ricans are Americans, let’s make sure people remember that — if they aren’t the highest priority of your government in responding to such a terrible natural disaster. What are you people spending your time doing? Golfing? Tweeting? Watching cable TV? I mean, find some time to tell the Navy to get down there and rescue people and provide food and provisions and medical care.”
On bouncing back
“I took a lot of walks in the woods. I spent a lot of time cleaning closets, and playing with my dogs. I drank my share of chardonnay,” Clinton said, echoing some of the post-election confessions she divulged in her book. “I did what I thought would help in kind of overcoming the personal disappointment, but that’s why I say it’s a book about resilience. Everybody has disappointments, and losses.”
“You may not lose a presidential election, but you may lose somebody close to you. You may lose a job you want,” she continued. “There’s all kinds of challenges in life, and so I want not only individuals — and so many of them as they’re coming to my events are telling me that it has helped them — but I want our country to understand how resilient we are. We are such an extraordinary collection of people, and energy and all sorts of great potential. And I don’t want people to get depressed, and worn out, and tired because they see things they disagree with that are contrary to who we are. There is something for everybody to do.”
On gun control
Neither Fallon nor Clinton directly referenced the deadly mass shooting that erupted during a country music concert in Las Vegas on Sunday. But Clinton did note that her book details her fight against the National Rifle Association and that she intends to “keep speaking out.”
“I can’t believe that one whole political party in the greatest country on Earth is totally sold to the gun lobby and will do whatever they are ordered to do, despite the loss of life,” she said. “One of the first things that Trump signed as president was to reverse President Obama’s order that people with serious mental health problems should not be able to buy guns.”
“And so he signed it, and aren’t you happy that people we already know who have mental health problems can now buy guns?” she added. “This makes no sense, and the vast majority of Americans, and the vast majority of gun owners know we need common-sense gun safety measures, so I’m going to keep fighting for it.”
On SNL’s Kate McKinnon
Fallon asked Clinton what she thought of “Saturday Night Live’s” somber post-election cold open, which featured Kate McKinnon as Clinton singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
“That was a tear-jerker,” Clinton said, joking that the Emmy winner “is actually a better me than I am.”
Clinton also had thoughts on another McKinnon sketch. “The other skit that she did, you know, showing some of my warnings, like be careful what [Trump] will do, he will kill us all, and all of that — that was not as funny, but it was also very touching.”
On her legacy
Clinton also participated in “Thank You Notes,” one of Fallon’s recurring segments. The host invited a group of women from his writing staff to write notes to Clinton. “Thank you Hillary Clinton. I was with her. I’m still with her, and right now I literally am with her,” writer Becky Krause said before asking Clinton to take a selfie with her.
Fallon also invited Miley Cyrus, his musical guest in residence this week, to read a thank-you note to Clinton. Cyrus teared up as she thanked Clinton for “being a constant beacon of strength, hope and determination for me and millions of other young women.”
“You’ve been a role model and an inspiration and a voice of reason in uncertain times,” Cyrus added before asking to give Clinton a hug.
Clinton obliged and asked to write a thank-you note of her own.
“Thank you Miley, the ‘Tonight Show’ writers and all the women and young girls out there. You are smart, strong and deserving of every opportunity. Together we’ve made our voices heard, we’ve done great things and we’ve come a long way,” Clinton said. “But as Miley would say, we can’t stop and we won’t stop.”