Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, What Happened, is the first time the former secretary of state has had the freedom to truly speak out, without the restraints that come with a future run for office in the. The book, which is fiery and defensive but also vulnerable and reflective, gives an honest look at her perspective on the 2016 campaign. Here are excerpts from some of the book’s biggest revelations, and she does not hold back when it comes to some of her worst critics.
“No matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled. It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do? You stay calm, keep smiling, and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, Back up, you creep! Get away from me! I know you love to intimidate women but you can’t intimidate me, so back up!’ I chose option A. I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off. I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder, though, whether I should have chosen option B. It certainly would have been better TV. May I have over learned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.”
“‘That was some weird shit,’ George W. Bush reportedly said with characteristic Texas bluntness. I couldn’t have agreed more.”
“I saw a man off to the side who I thought was Reince Priebus, head of the Republican National Committee and incoming White House Chief of Staff. As I passed by, we shook hands and exchanged small talk. Later I realised it hadn’t been Priebus at all. It was Jason Chaffetz, the then-Utah Congressman and wannabe Javert who made endless political hay out of my emails and the 2012 tragedy in Benghazi, Libya. Later, Chaffetz posted a picture of our handshake with the caption ‘So pleased she is not the President. I thanked her for her service and wished her luck. The investigation continues.’ What a class act! I came this close to tweeting back, ‘To be honest, thought you were Reince.'”
“When we heard this, Huma looked stricken. Anthony had already caused so much heartache. And now this. ‘This man is going to be the death of me,’ she said, bursting into tears. […] In the days that followed, some people thought I should fire Huma or ‘distance myself.’ Not a chance. She had done nothing wrong and was an invaluable member of my team. I stuck by her the same way she has always stuck by me.”