NEW DELHI — Hillary Clinton said over the weekend during a trip to India that the United States did not “deserve” the presidency of Donald Trump.
The former presidential candidate spoke at an event in Mumbai, where she schmoozed with Bollywood stars and where a well-known journalist warmly introduced her as the “woman who should have been the president of the United States of America.”
In a wide-ranging speech and discussion, Clinton spoke of the challenges of running against Donald Trump and the dangers of Russian influence and authoritarianism in regimes worldwide. “These are perilous times,” she said.
Later, Clinton was asked about the seemingly close relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin -- a "bromance" -- now subject of a special counsel's investigation.
Clinton replied: “Trump does have quite an affinity for dictators. He really likes their authoritarian posturing and behavior.”
“He does have a preexisting attitude of favorability toward these dictators, but I think it’s more than that with Putin and Russia,” she said.
“Do they have something on him?” asked journalist Aroon Purie, host of the India Today Conclave.
“Well, we’ll find out, we’ll find out,” she answered. “Follow the money.”
In the hour-long appearance, Clinton bemoaned the “reality campaign” tactics of her opponent in the 2016 presidential campaign — musing that perhaps she should have provided more “entertainment” to voters who were responding to Trump’s brash campaign of “insulting and attacking.”
“If people were looking for a reality TV campaign, maybe I should have given them more entertainment,” she said. “I’m the mother who says, ‘Eat your spinach, you’ll grow up strong.’ Someone else is saying, ‘Eat all the fast food and the ice cream you can possibly stick in your mouth.’ ”
She also had a few choice words for former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, whose Oct. 28, 2016 letter to Congress about the private e-mail server she used as secretary of state upended her campaign, and, she believes, caused her to lose white women voters. Nearly 52 percent of white women voted for Trump in part because, she said, of "ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, you son whoever believes you should."
When Comey dropped that "ill-advised" letter, she said, "all of a sudden white women who were going to vote for me -- frankly standing up to the men in their lives and in their work places -- were being told 'She’s going to jail. You don’t want to vote for her. It’s going to be terrible. You don’t want to vote for that.'
It stopped my momentum and decreased my vote."
Clinton, a former first lady and U.S. senator, has made visits to India since 1995, including a high-profile trip as secretary of state in 2011 when she advocated what a U.S. policy of a “pivot” toward Asia.
After her appearance in Mumbai, Clinton flew to the central Indian city of Indore for a private visit to the remote Ahilya Fort hotel in Maheshwar, an 18th-century fort built by a queen on the Narmada River. One of the queen’s descendants, Richard Holkar, restored the fort and reportedly invited Clinton to visit.