Hillary Clinton is easing her way back into the public eye. On Tuesday night, she gave the closing remarks at the Professional Business Women of California conference in San Francisco. During her speech, Clinton took a moment to defend two African American women who have recently come under attack by Trump lackies.
“Just look at all that’s happened in the last few days to women who were simply doing their jobs,” Clinton said. “April Ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job just this afternoon in the White House press room when she was patronized and cut off trying to ask a question.“
Clinton is referring to a heated exchange between Press Secretary Sean Spicer and April Ryan, a correspondent for the Urban Radio Networks, at a White House briefing. Ryan pressed Spicer to answer a question about Trump’s ties to Russia. Spicer, as usual, answered defensively, telling her “I appreciate your agenda here…At some point report the facts.” Ryan began to shake her head in what she claims was “disbelief.” She defended herself, saying “I’m just reporting.” Spicer then told her to “Please stop shaking your head.”
Clinton then referenced an especially egregious incident in which Fox News’s Bill O'Reilly commented on Fox & Friends that he couldn’t listen to California Congresswoman Maxine Waters’s criticisms of Trump because he was focused on her “James Brown wig.”
O’Reilly’s comments are a deeply troubling verbal assault on a 78-year-old woman who has worked for decades as a public servant, and only after a slew of controversy did he apologize. The next day Waters shot back at O'Reilly in the best way, saying "I’m a strong black woman and I cannot be intimidated.”
“One of our own California congresswomen, Maxine Waters, was taunted with a racist joke about her hair,“ Clinton said. "Too many women, especially women of color, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride…But why should we have to? And any woman who thinks this couldn’t be directed at her is living in a dream world.”
These are Clinton’s most pointedly political remarks since she lost the presidential election. She also remarked that “There’s no where I’d rather be here than with you—other than the White House” in a surprisingly open admission that she still hasn’t quite recovered from the loss.
Clinton focused her speech on her ongoing mission to “[advance] the rights and opportunities of women and girls,” as “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” although she did also take the opportunity to drag the GOP attempt to repeal the ACA as a “disastrous bill.“ Overall, in her one of her first big moments back in the spotlight, Clinton tried to keep her message upbeat.
“I see a light shining on creativity and opportunity,” she said, after assuring the assembled woman that, “You have the power.” Her words of encouragement were ear marked by her newly minted mantra: “Resist, insist, persist, enlist.” And just in case we thought we were would be in this fight alone, Clinton ended her speech with exactly what a Trump-weary world needed to hear: “I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.”