Hillary Clinton is considered an elderly person

Interview: Hillary Clinton: "Our struggle as women continues"

For a few years they could only be seen sporadically in public. Now you step back into the limelight with the documentary “Hillary” - including a big premiere like the one at the Berlinale. Why that?

Hillary Clinton: None of this was planned on my part. In the beginning it was all about the material that was shot during the 2016 election campaign. Around 2000 hours. A production company wanted to make a film out of it and hired Oscar-nominated director Nanette Burstein. For months she sifted through the material ten or twelve hours a day, and finally she said the whole thing made a bigger story. And I thought: why not?

But what does it bring you?

Clinton: I just wanted to tell my story - with all weak points and flaws. Because over the years so many false reports have been spread about me that could no longer be described. That is why so many voters have been misled.

In the documentary you also used the opportunity to make an angry remark for Bernie Sanders, your democratic competitor at the time. What if he becomes a presidential candidate?

Clinton: Then I will support him. Like any other candidate. But let's wait and see who gets the nomination first. We absolutely have to win. Nothing else matters that much.

Clinton on Trump: "Actually, I hit him"

How do you beat Donald Trump?

Clinton: Don't forget: I actually beat him - after all, I had three million more votes. But in the 2016 election there were a lot of special features. Some of these are now repeating themselves - especially the influence of the Russians. Even the Trump administration had to admit that. I told each of the applicants and also repeated it in public: If we want to defeat Donald Trump, then we must also fight against the interference of foreign powers and the propaganda on social media. Likewise against the theft of data, which is then used against us. A specialty of the Republicans is the suppression of votes. In other words: You want to have people deleted from the electoral registers who may not vote for them. These are great challenges, regardless of the candidate. But we have to win. Because we have to repair the damage that Trump has caused. If that doesn't happen, the future of our country looks bleak.

In the documentary, you mean that Trump represents the agenda of other powers. Is he, so to speak, Putin's puppet after the Russians intervene in his favor?

Clinton: I wouldn't go as far as to call him Putin's puppet. But he is clearly willing to dance to Putin's tune. With his politics he has undermined the EU, NATO and the role of the USA in the whole world. That fits right into Putin's program. And if he then produces a plan such as the peace plan for Israel and Palestine, then it falls far short of the requirements.

But you cannot say exactly how far he will act according to Putin's wishes?

Clinton: That's impossible. Because we don't even know how often he speaks to Putin or when he will call him. Because there are no notes on this. As Foreign Minister, I had hundreds of meetings with the world's top leaders, including Putin, and notes were always taken so that there would be no misunderstandings about the outcome of the meeting afterwards. Not with Trump.

As Foreign Minister, you also had to take criticism, for example for your Libya policy. Do you regret that you intervened in the civil war back then?

Clinton: It was the right decision - look at what happened in Syria where we didn't intervene. Even the Arab world asked us back then, which had never happened before. We have accomplished our mission. But unfortunately nothing more happened afterwards. The West and the USA should have supported the Libyans in building a democracy back then. But I was no longer in office after that.

Clinton: "Trump takes authoritarian leaders as an example"

You had a different mission after that. There is a scene in the documentary with Senator Tim Caine telling you about a recommendation from Barack Obama for the election campaign: "Go out and defeat the fascists." Was that what you thought?

Clinton: Barack Obama and I both know our history well, and we were worried about Trump, very worried. But I didn't think he would win.

Really not?

Clinton: It was worrying when FBI chief James Comey brought up the whole e-mail affair again ten days before the election. And that although it had already been established in July that I had not broken any rules. After that, my poll results went down until, a few days later, Comey found everything was fine. I thought that would limit the damage, but apparently these allegations still played a role for some voters. And you shouldn't forget that in some districts the result was very close.

It seemed like Trump could hardly believe his victory himself.

Clinton: But there were enough people who invested in his victory and rigged the election for him. And they certainly believed in it. In any case, this man wants power, and he wants to keep it. That's why he takes authoritarian leaders like Putin as models who are consolidating their power, and at the same time he provides a blueprint for other autocrats because he is allowed to get away with anything.

Even though he utters so much nonsense and falsehood?

Clinton: That's part of his strategy. Who still pays attention to important news when Trump insults someone in his tweets again? He is the perfect leader for the age of reality TV and social media. Many people no longer say: 'Let's do the hard work first so that we can solve the big problems of the day.' I'm trying to emulate this man. ‘

So are we experiencing a crisis of democracy?

Clinton: Absolutely. We're in the middle of it. This is a crisis in which traditional institutions and leadership principles are rejected. People are no longer satisfied with the achievements of our system. Some drop out, become indifferent and no longer vote. Some choose the path of extremism, left or right. Because the political center is boring. These people say to themselves: 'All this bores me. It doesn't work. I like my nationalism, my populism. "

And how do we get out of this crisis again?

Clinton: I have no idea. At least not with leaders who stand for extremism themselves. On the other hand, leaders who rely on consensus find it difficult to be heard. Because politics today - like the rest of the world - is driven by technology, especially social media. What is getting attention? What are the clicks? What is favored by the algorithms? Extreme comments, controversy, conspiracy theories. Who, for example, should still manage to develop careful solutions to problems such as carbon dioxide emissions in order to combat climate change? People need to go back to the traditional decision-making process. They need to accept compromises. As I said, I can't tell you how we're going to solve all of this. One approach is certainly to regulate the Internet platforms so that they comply with journalistic standards. In any case, if we do not find an answer to these challenges, then the autocrats and extremists will set the tone. These are all topics that stir me up a lot.

"Feminism means equality"

You yourself had unpleasant experiences with social networks during the election campaign ...

Clinton: Naturally. There are now scientific studies of the extent to which certain voters were influenced by the fake news on Facebook. They were then shared hundreds of thousands of times, because people just don't read the newspaper and don't follow leading media anymore. Even when the truth came out, many would think, 'Maybe there is something to it after all.' And the problem was that not only was I being attacked as a person, but also the positions I stood up for - equality for women that is now being questioned again by these authoritarian leaders. We must fight again to ensure that such achievements are not taken back.

What does feminism mean to you?

Clinton: Quite simply, equality between men and women. In business, politics and society. And this must be anchored in law and in practice.

But the Americans seem to be having a hard time electing a woman as president.

Clinton: I know there is still a significant part of society that doubts we can do this job. I've seen surveys that say 40 percent of Republicans have problems with it, and it's nine percent of Democrats. That is a significant number. And male and female candidates are measured by double standards. When Bernie Sanders had a heart attack last year, no one cared about his medical records. Imagine if this happened to a woman. And you will find the reservations not only in men, but also in women, especially older people.

What is the consequence for a female candidate?

Clinton: Not to be impressed by it. Yes, we have to take note of this skepticism. But we must not allow ourselves to be brought to our knees by this, but do everything we can to overcome it. Our struggle as women continues.

To person: Hillary Clinton, born Hillary Rodham on October 26, 1947 in Chicago, was First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. She then ran twice as a Democrat in the race for the US presidency: in 2008, she lost to Barack Obama in the primary elections, in whose cabinet she then became Secretary of State. In 2016, she was narrowly defeated by Donald Trump as a Democratic candidate in the presidential election. A documentary film about Clinton premiered at the Berlinale in Berlin. The simple, iconic title: "Hillary".

Also read: "Madam Secretary": Hillary Clinton at the Berlinale

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