SAN FRANCISCO, California — Hillary Clinton took the stage at a diversity conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, making her most political comments since losing the 2016 presidential election.
“There is no place I’d rather be than here with you,” Clinton said, before adding: “Other than the White House.”
During her keynote address at the annual conference hosted by the Professional BusinessWomen of California, Clinton spoke largely about women’s equality and peppered in criticism of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
“Obviously the outcome of the election wasn’t the one I hoped for, worked for, but I will never stop speaking out for common sense benefits that will allow moms and dads to stay on the job,” Clinton said.
Besides a few comments in public gatherings and tweets from her personal account, Clinton has largely laid low since the election. She was spotted after the election in the woods near her New York home and, along with her husband former President Bill Clinton, she attended Trump’s inauguration.
She called Republicans’ attempted replacement for the Affordable Care Act “a disastrous bill,” adding that the Trump administration has been “met with a wave of resistance” that indicates the protests against Trump’s policies are just getting started.
“People who had never been active in politics told their stories at town hall meetings.” Clinton said. “They were people who had something to say and were determined to be heard.”
During the question and answer portion of her appearance, she grew incredulous at the GOP health care debate.
“Really? Take away maternity care?” Clinton said. “Who do these people talk to?”
Clinton also focused on issues like inclusivity and diversity of women in the workplace and the need for the private sector to make better efforts to bring more women to the table.
“Advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls is the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” she said, while noting that women’s representation in Washington is “the lowest it’s been in a generation.”
The former secretary of state also responded to racially charged incidents directed at two prominent black women on Tuesday.
In one, White House press Secretary Sean Spicer told April Ryan, a longtime White House correspondent and one of the few black women journalists in the press briefing room, to “stop shaking your head” and accused her of being “hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays.”
In another, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly came under fire for racist comments mocking Rep. Maxine Waters’ hair, saying her hair looked like a “James Brown wig.”
O’Reilly later apologized, but not after a slew of controversy. Tuesday, Clinton said Waters had been “taunted by a racist joke about her hair.”
Women of color, said Clinton, have “a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride.”
On the policy front, Clinton criticized the US for still not having a national paid family leave policy and said those who do benefit from such policies are often among the highest income workers. Clinton called on the private sector to do more to help.
“You’re the people who figured out how to fit computers in the palms of our hands,” she said. “You have the power.”
But overall, Clinton offered an optimistic tone in the face of Trump’s victory.
“Where some see a dark vision of carnage, I see a light shining on creativity and opportunity,” she said, referencing the inaugural address.
She offered the audience her new mantra: “Resist, insist, persist, enlist.”
She encouraged the audience to “resist actions that go against our values as Americans,” insist on “putting people first,” “persist” like Sen. Elizabeth Warren did when she was prevented from reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King about Sen. Jeff Sessions, and “enlist” others by running for office or opening a business.
“I’ll be right there with you every step of the way,” she said.