MS. CLINTON: Thank you so much, Jonathan. I'm delighted to be with you, especially today.
MR. CAPEHART: And so, we now--here in the United States, lots of people are very excited about the fact that we have a woman as vice president of the United States. But we have women still being brutalized around the world. What are your thoughts on this International Women's Day?
MS. CLINTON: Well, I share the opinion that we have made progress. It would be unfair to argue that we haven't. There's a lot we can point to. And clearly, I'm as thrilled as anyone at having Vice President Harris in the White House. But if we really look at where we are, we know that huge barriers--legal, structural, psychological, attitudinal barriers of all kinds--are still holding back women and girls.
And, Jonathan, it's especially important to, you know, focus on that right now, because the pandemic over this past year has really set women back. The burdens that it has imposed on women, especially mothers, has been seen in everything from an increase in domestic violence to an increase in child marriages, to a loss of employment by frontline workers who are disproportionately women. So, on this International Women's Day, we can take stock of how far we've come since I gave that speech in Beijing in 1995. But we have to recommit ourselves to continuing to make the changes that are necessary to ensure that every girl and woman has the chance to fulfill her own God-given potential.
MR. CAPEHART: Well, name one or two of those changes that you think should happen or should be made.
MS. CLINTON: Well, in the developed world--and especially in the United States--we need paid family leave. We need quality, affordable childcare. We need to continue to knock down all of the barriers--many of which are now in the realm of culture rather than law--against women's full participation in the labor force. And in the rest of the world, we've seen the setbacks. We've seen the continuing requirements that are placed on women to, you know, not only be fully involved in the home but to do so much work that is not remunerated like carrying water, carrying firewood, caring for children. They don't get the right to inherit. They don't get the right to own property. So, there is a lot that needs to be done across the world.
And the final point about that, Jonathan, is study after study has proven this is not just a nice thing to do. We know that where women can fully participate in the economy, the formal economy, where they are paid, then the entire communities they're part of--and indeed, the countries in which they live--have increased economic activity. And there isn't a country in the world, no matter how far advanced with trying to ensure women's equality, that would not see their economic growth increase if the barriers to women's involvement were totally knocked down.
MR. CAPEHART: You know, this gets to a follow-up that I was going to ask you. In The Atlantic last fall, you offered an addendum to your Beijing statement, writing, quote, "But rights are nothing without the power to claim them." How can women claim them?
MS. CLINTON: Well, I did write that because I am concerned that there's been a lot of lip service to rights. Laws have been changed, constitutions have been changed. Women have been included in both in ways they weren't prior to 1995, and that's all to the good. But rights on paper without the power to claim them are pretty empty. And we need many more women at every table where any decision is made. So that means we still have a lot of work to do in the private sector.
Still, it's too common that people at the highest levels of corporations say things like, well, of course I'd hire women or of course I'd add a woman to the board, if only we could find, quote, "a qualified woman." My response to that is, you're not looking very hard, and you need to look harder.
And people in executive positions in the private sector, you know, should be evaluated on how inclusive they are in providing opportunities not just for the hiring of women but for their advancement, their promotion, their moving into the executive positions themselves. Certainly, that's true in academia, in the media. It's not just in the kind of corporations we generally think of providing goods and services, but across the economy at large.
And in the public sector, I'm encouraging more and more women to run for office, put their names out there, be willing to, you know, get into the arena, because we need more women who are helping to make decisions. And I would add that we've seen a great example of that this past week. We've seen with the American Rescue Plan not only a terrific piece of legislation that targets COVID relief, stimulus payments for families and businesses, provides more subsidies for people who've lost healthcare and therefore they can be eligible for the Affordable Care Act, helps to provide money to get kids back into schools and get daycares open.
We've also seen a real focus on one of the challenges that women always face, balancing family and work, with the emphasis on providing assistance for children. In fact, in the bill, 93 percent of American children are in families that will receive a payment. This is the kind of legislation that many of us have hoped for, advocated for over many years to help level that playing field so that mothers and fathers, women and men, can manage both their family responsibilities and their work responsibilities without a disproportionate burden falling on mothers and women.
MR. CAPEHART: And you're talking about the America Rescue Plan, which is also known as the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package that President Biden campaigned on, pushed for, and has--by tomorrow will mostly likely be law of the land. And as you know, the Biden administration has been working on women and families' issues that you've passionately cared about. Any chance, any chance you'll formally work with the president to help him on these issues?
MS. CLINTON: Well, I don't think I'll work formally, but I am certainly working informally. I am working very hard to support the president's agenda. I was thrilled that today he has announced the Gender Equality Council that is run by two fabulous young women that I personally know and have worked with over many years. I am in full support of what the Biden-Harris administration is doing.
And it's not just, Jonathan, because I care deeply about equality and justice for women and girls. I care about it for men and boys, too. But I especially care about it for our larger society. I think we now have a chance, as people have lived through COVID, that more and more Americans, regardless of political party, are starting to say, wait a minute, I do need my government to stand up for me. I need my government in my corner, not just the corner of special interests and the--you know, the multinational corporations and the millionaires and billionaires. I need them in my corner. I am struggling. My small business has gone under or is hanging by a thread. I had to leave work to care for my children while they're in Zoom school, not real school.
I am so excited by this legislation because I think it's generational. I believe it's been a long time coming, and finally we have a consensus--maybe still just the Democrats, but if you look at the polling, the Democrats in Congress are supported by a very significant majority of all Americans for the Biden-Harris plan. And so, I am excited that maybe we're going to get finally, you know, to an understanding that we need to really truly lift everybody up. It's good for not just those who are getting direct aid or subsidies or support in some fashion. It's good for the entire economy and the entire society. And I'm thrilled by that. So, I'm an outspoken advocate for the Biden-Harris administration, both the--on social media, interviews like this, and also behind the scenes in talking to a number of the people who are making these important decisions.
MR. CAPEHART: Secretary Clinton, I want to take a bit of a detour, because when you were talking about the psychological and attitudinal issues facing women around the world, the entire nation--and by now the entire world--has been talking about the interview last night with the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, and her husband, Prince Harry, the duke of Sussex. And I'm wondering, what happens when the business is a royal family? And the bigger issue here is, what happens when you have women who are in powerful positions or in powerful families who feel like their voices are being squelched, their freedom is being denied? Just talk about your thoughts and reactions to the interview and what--if there is a bigger message to women to be gleaned from what Megan Markle had to say last night.
MS. CLINTON: Oh, I thought it was an extraordinary two hours of television, and I thank Oprah for conducting the interview as only she could. I found it so heartrending to watch. You know, I've met, obviously, both Harry and Meghan. I knew Harry's mother, Princess Diana. I know the other members of the royal family. And it just was heartbreaking that this incredibly accomplished woman, Megan Markle, who falls in love with Prince Harry, was not fully embraced by not just the so-called "Firm," which is the name for the permanent bureaucracy that surrounds the royal family, but by the media in the UK.
You know, I've had my time in the--you know, in the box with the British tabloids, as anybody who is in the public eye has had, and their cruelty in going after Meghan was just outrageous. And the fact she did not get more support, that the--that the reaction was, you know, let's just paper it over and pretend that it didn't happen, or it will go away. Just keep your head down. Well, you know, this young woman was not about to keep her head down. You know, this is 2021, and she wanted to live her life. She wanted to, you know, be fully engaged and she had every right to hope for that. And I just think that every institution--you know, obviously last night we were thinking about, you know, royalty in the UK--but every institution has got to make more space and acceptance for young people coming up, particularly young women, who should not be forced into a mold that is no longer relevant, not only for them but for our society.
And it was heartbreaking to see the two of them sitting there, having to describe how difficult it was to be accepted, to be integrated, not just into the royal family as they described, but more painfully into the larger society's, whose narrative is driven by tabloids that are living in the past. And I just hope that there will be some serious, thoughtful consideration in all of the institutions, not just in response to what, you know, Meghan and Harry were talking about but, literally across all of our societies.
Why do we make it so hard to incorporate diversity, to celebrate it, to be proud of it? And I just couldn't help but watch last night and really feel that these two young people--because by my standards they still are young--are not only standing up for themselves and for their children, but they're really trying to send a message about what institutions, including the one that they were part of, need to do to be more dynamic and forward-looking than they currently are.
MR. CAPEHART: Well, let's come back stateside and come back to New York. As I mentioned before and as everybody knows, you're a former senator from the great state of New York. So, let's talk about Governor Andrew Cuomo. Over the weekend, the State Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and State Senator Liz Krueger, a prominent Manhattan Democrat, who I'm sure you know, both of these women called on Governor Cuomo to resign. What do you think he should do?
MS. CLINTON: You know, I've said, Jonathan, that the allegations are serious and they need to be investigated thoroughly, not only for the sake of the women who have stepped forward to bring these allegations but for all New Yorkers. And I'm very confident that the attorney general will conduct an independent, comprehensive investigation, and I think we should all wait to see what those results are.
MR. CAPEHART: Let's talk about the Republican Party, shall we? The Republicans have been eating their own. And I'm wonder, what advice, if any, you would give to Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming in handling not just Donald Trump and the criticisms coming from him but his followers in Congress?
MS. CLINTON: Well, first, I don't want to hurt Liz Cheney, but I will say I was incredibly impressed by her strength in standing up to what had been instigated by Donald Trump, an attack on our Capitol by the then-sitting president of our country, which is so outrageous. And really, Representative Cheney was one of the very few Republicans in Congress who did stand up. And I give all of them who spoke up, voted for impeachment, who voted for conviction in the Senate, you know, credit for doing what was right. I just wish that more Republicans had had either the courage or the understanding of what they needed to do, that they too had stood up and spoken out.
Right now, Jonathan, it is really troubling to see the Republican Party turn themselves into a cult and, you know, basically pledge allegiance not to the United States of America but to Donald Trump, something I do not understand, I cannot accept, and I don't think the majority of Americans, as we have seen with the very large popular victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, you know, the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which is so popular--I don't understand why the Republican Party is so afraid of itself. Because that's what it comes down to: They're afraid that Donald Trump will instigate primary opponents against them, and those primary opponents will demand loyalty to Trump--not to the Republican Party, not to the United States of America.
I think this will eventually burn out. I hope it happens sooner, not later. The country should not be so much in turmoil and really at the whim of someone who is so indifferent to more than 500,000 deaths from COVID from, you know, white supremacists and nationalists storming our Capitol, and everything else that he has either blessed or ignored.
MR. CAPEHART: Well, speaking of that, Secretary Clinton, so I went back into my archives--you and I have spoken over the years, and I've written columns about our conversations. And in July of 2016, in the middle of your own presidential campaign--and you were the presumptive Democratic nominee--we talked about then-candidate Donald Trump's divisive language and his use of that divisiveness--and you called it divisive; I called it racist. And here's what you told me at the time: You said, "We have to reject Trump's divisive rhetoric. It is a threat to our democracy. I don't care what your race, your ethnicity, your religion is, pitting people against one another, stoking mistrust, everything he says, everything he promises to do as president would drive even further divisive barriers between us."
Here we are nearly five years later. Did you expect--did you expect it to be--to get as bad as it got with him as president along those lines?
MS. CLINTON: I did not expect it to get as bad. I thought it would be bad, Jonathan, and I tried to sound the alarm during the 2016 campaign.
MR. CAPEHART: And several times.
MS. CLINTON: And you know, there are a number of researchers--yeah, there are people who have studied that campaign who understand that my speaking out against white supremacy and against, you know, the kind of rhetoric that Trump used was politically, I guess, not wise, but it was, for me, absolutely imperative to try to speak out and try to portray what I thought was the outcome of a Trump presidency. I hoped that he would once in office understand the enormity of the job, you know, have some of that sense of humility that presidents need to have when they're in the Oval Office. Well, as we know that did not happen. And it was always all about him, his personal, his financial, his partisan political advantage.
And it really was tragic to watch. I mean, everything from what he said after Charleston all the way up through his absolute indifference and negligence during COVID with all of the costs that that imposed, to his, you know, behavior in the face of legitimate and peaceful protests following the killings of George Floyd and others, to obviously his final act to try to overturn an election that had been certified repeatedly by the states, even ones that are controlled by Republican governors and legislatures. He never grew into the job. He never accepted the awesome responsibility that goes with being president.
And I'm just so grateful beyond words that President Biden is not only in the office, behaving as we should expect a president to behave, doing the work, you know, having the kind of engagement on the issues that, you know, any president should have.
But I'm hoping, as I said earlier, that the Republican Party will find its soul, will find its center again and understand they can't keep playing with fire. You know, a lot of them thought that they could control Trump, they could use him, they could use him to, you know, take over the Supreme Court, they could use him to recklessly cut taxes. They could do, you know, what their own agenda was really demanding, because he didn't care about any of it other than his power and his adulation and the role that he played rather than the job that he was supposed to do. So, I hope that the Republican Party catches up with the rest of the country.
The other thing I would add about this is, it truly is shameful that the Republican Party has decided that it cannot win elections unless it stops people from voting. Many in the Republican Party were deeply upset that not only President Biden and Vice President Harris won their states but that we elected two dynamic senators from Georgia. And so, what is their response? It's not to say, okay, we have differences with the Democrats but we can stand up for them and we can make our case, and so we're going to, you know, do everything possible to be a party that is future-oriented. Instead, they're turning the clock back, trying to bring back all kinds of voter suppression tactics to make it difficult for Black and brown people, older people, young people to vote, because they don't think they can get their votes. And that's not the mark of a very confident or optimistic political party. That's the mark of a losing political party and philosophy.
MR. CAPEHART: Well, Secretary Clinton, another thing that they're doing is, the ones who were elected, they're retiring. Earlier today, Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri announced that he will not seek reelection. He's the fifth Republican to announce that they're not going to seek reelection. What do you think that says about the Republican Party? Do you think the Republican Party is at a fork in the road and it's going to go down one that is not one that brings the country together?
MS. CLINTON: I do, unfortunately. I think you're seeing Republicans retire who are, you know, just not ready to face a primary against a Trump acolyte, who don't have the stomach anymore to stand up and fight against extremism in their own party, and so they're retiring. And I can understand that. I mean, they've done a calculation. They've concluded that, you know, Trump is the puppet master who pulls the strings of the hardcore base of the Republican Party, who dishes out disinformation on social media that really pollutes people's thinking about where we need to be in the country and what's true and what's absolutely false. And so, they're just throwing the towel in.
And I think--you know, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Not that I would agree with a lot of the Republicans who are leaving. I served for eight years in the Senate, as you know, Jonathan. I overlapped. And frankly, I couldn't believe that many of the people who I knew had basically shut their mouths. They didn't stand up to Trump, and many of them, you know, chose to retire or not run again, that I had served with. So, I hope that it's not a sign that the Republican Party is going to go even more extreme. Although, actually, but for voter suppression, that's probably good news for Democrats, because I think, you know, voters, whether they are, you know, middle of the road Republicans who have certain ideas about, you know, what they want to see, or independents, or Democrats from across the spectrum, they're going to see a president with Joe Biden who's actually getting things done for them. And maybe that will help to turn the tide as more Republicans say, wait a minute, I don't want to be part of the extreme, I want to be part of decision making for our country.
MR. CAPEHART: Secretary Clinton, I've got to squeeze in two things before we go. One, your view on the filibuster. In terms of getting President Biden's agenda through, there's a lot of increasing talk that the filibuster needs to be done away with so that it can get through in a simple majority vote. If you were still in the Senate, would you vote to do away with the filibuster?
MS. CLINTON: I would, Jonathan. I would vote to do away with the filibuster. I think it has outlasted its usefulness. And I think one of our problems right now is that we have a minority that is becoming more and more extreme, that is basically holding the majority not just of the Congress but of the country back. And I think the filibuster, for whatever purpose it served in the past, should be retired.
And I'm encouraged that there are conversations about whether, if it's not done away with completely, it can be modified so that important bills like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, or an infrastructure bill to put people to work and to frankly fix our crumbling infrastructure, can pass on majority vote, because there's no doubt in my mind that's what the American people are looking for. They're really tired of, you know, the kind of games that look like they're being played, and they don't understand. They vote for somebody and nothing gets done because everything can get stopped by a filibuster. So, if we--if we don't have the votes to eliminate it, then we should certainly amend it so that it can permit important legislation to be decided on a majority vote.
MR. CAPEHART: All right, I'm going to squeeze in two more things in the little time that we have left. The Post's Karen Heller has a great story in the front page of the style section about you, meaning the Clintons and the Obamas and how you've become epic content creators. You are now in--you're now in my biz. You have a podcast called "You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton." You have a production company that has optioned two books. What are you hoping to do on this side--this side of the microphone?
MS. CLINTON: Well, I am following in your lead, Jonathan. Look, in today's world, just as it's always been from the beginning of time, storytelling is absolutely essential. You have now a kind of convergence of policy and politics and culture. And the narrative of our time is really going to be critical in helping everybody to decide how to create a life, how to build a future and where our country goes next. I am so excited to be doing the podcast. It's been wonderful talking with people in a long format. I do it with iHeart. They've been a terrific partner, and they told me the other day that, you know, people stay for my podcast for, you know, 30-40 minutes, even though our attention spans, we all know, have been diminished. I am in business now with my daughter and other partners on a production company called HiddenLight, and you know, we are doing our first production on "The Book of Gutsy Women" that Chelsea and I wrote together for Apple TV. We have auctioned an incredible book called "The Daughters of Kobani" with Gayle Lemmon, which looks at the Kurdish women who were on the frontlines fighting ISIS. And we have other things sort of in the--in the works.
And I want to tell inspirational, informational stories that really get people to think hard about how we live together, how we pursue justice and equality, how we really try to get over our divides and find some unifying themes of our common humanity, and in America, our common Americanness. So, I'm really having a great time.
MR. CAPEHART: Secretary Clinton, we're going into a little bit of overtime because I can't end this interview without getting you to talk about the loss of your very good friend and a mentor to me, and that is the great powerhouse Democrat and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan. And close us out with some reflections on your friend.
MS. CLINTON: Well, Jonathan, I read your column about Vernon, and I thank you for it because he was a truly unique, towering figure. He was, as you said, a leader in the civil rights movement--you know, one of the last alive who was there with Dr. King and John Lewis and all of the rest of the heroes who, you know, helped to improve our country and give us at least a chance to fulfill our founding ideals.
He was also a great mentor. He lifted everybody up who knew him. If you had a hard question about a decision to make, if you wanted advice about what you should be doing in your life or your business, the scores upon scores of people who would go to Vernon--and it was always discreet. He was always very open and honest with you, but he gave some of the best advice that I know of and that I certainly ever received. He was just a great friend.
You know, I knew him, Jonathan, since 1969, and so I had many, many years of his friendship and then with him and Ann and with his daughter Vickee and Ann's children, during the eight years Bill was president, we spent every Christmas Eve at the Jordan house. We would have a buffet dinner together. We would stand around the piano and sing Christmas carols. We'd have great conversations before we went to a midnight church service. So, I have, you know, both the memories of this giant of a man and everything he stood for, everything he accomplished, and then the deep personal memories of his friendship to me, to Bill, to Chelsea, our family over so many years. He's going to be incredibly missed. I've already spoken to a lot of our mutual friends, and they keep saying the same thing. They say I know I'm going to be reaching for that phone or picking up my phone and tapping out the number before I remember that he's not there anymore. And it's a hard--it's a hard fact to face that Vernon Jordan is no longer with us.
But he leaves a huge legacy. And I hope it's a legacy that young people really look to and understand how it's possible to make change in so many different ways. And that's part of his genius. He could make changes in laws. He could make changes in voting rights. He could make changes in corporate boardrooms. He could make changes in the Oval Office. He understood that if you believed in what you were espousing and doing, there would always be a way of trying to get that to somebody who could make a difference in a life or a community or a country or the world. And what a great man Vernon Jordan was.
MR. CAPEHART: Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, thank you very much for coming to Washington Post Live.
MS. CLINTON: Thank you, Jonathan. It's always a pleasure to talk to you.
MR. CAPEHART: Thank you.
And as always, thank you for tuning in. Asian Americans have experienced a sharp increase in racist, verbal abuse and physical attacks. Today at 3:00 p.m. Eastern national reporter Michelle Ye Hee Lee speaks with author and historian Erika Lee together with author and activist Helen Zia about how the past can help inform our understanding of where we are today.
And on Tuesday, which is tomorrow, Diane von Furstenberg joins The Washington Post--Washington Post critic at large Robin Givhan to discuss her new book "Own It: The Secret to Life."
Then on Wednesday, the president of General Motors, Mark Reuss, he'll discuss GM's push to electric vehicles.
Once again, I’m Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for The Washington Post. Thank you for watching Washington Post Live.