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Hillary Clinton: Trump White House 'far worse' than she predicted

Hillary Clinton at Hulu's "Hillary" premiere last week

Hillary Clinton at Hulu's "Hillary" premiere last week in Manhattan. Credit: Getty Images for Hulu / Monica Schipper

Hillary Clinton said President Donald Trump's administration is "far worse" than she predicted it would be when she challenged him for the presidency in 2016.

In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that aired Sunday, Clinton said, "It’s actually been worse, Fareed, because when he was elected, I did hold out hope that despite all of the rhetoric, the bombast and everything we heard in the campaign, that the job has a way of encouraging people to grow into it, to accept the awesome responsibilities that one has."

Clinton said she was reiterating her belief that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — her rival for the Democratic nomination in 2016 — is not "our strongest nominee against Donald Trump." She also heaped praised on former Vice President Joe Biden, though she declined to endorse him outright.

Biden "is building the kind of coalition that I had basically. It’s a broad-based coalition. I finished, you know, most of the work I needed to do for the nomination on Super Tuesday, and then it kind of lingered on — and I think Joe is on track to doing exactly the same thing — putting together a coalition of voters who are energized."

Clinton said she hoped Sanders would work to unify the party if Biden became the nominee, criticizing Sanders' efforts in 2016. She told Zakaria: "His failure and the behavior of a lot of his top aides, and certainly many of his supporters — up to the convention, at the convention, and even up to Election Day was not helpful."

Clinton said she would "support the nominee of the Democratic Party." Asked if she would campaign for Sanders, Clinton said: "I don’t know if he would ask me to campaign for him, Fareed. Because I have no idea what he is thinking about for a general election campaign."

She also expressed worry about Democrats resorting to "name-calling," after Zakaria ran through nicknames Trump has given his rivals, from "Crooked Hillary" to "Mini Mike" and "Sleepy Joe."

"When Democrats do, they get punished. And I think there are a number of reasons for that. If you criticize someone personally or on a character basis on the right, it’s just part of the landscape. It’s how you win elections, it’s who you are and he’s perfected the art of the smear," she said.

For Democrats, she said "most of the people who think and work and vote over there really don’t like that. They aren’t comfortable with it. They don’t think it’s the right thing to do. So it’s difficult to thread the needle. So I do think there are enough criticisms to make about him that you don’t have to resort to that kind of name-calling."

She also commented on a Vox news report that a Fox News story about her emails was Facebook's top-viewed story on Super Tuesday.

She said, "Fox and the sort of right-wing echo chamber has mastered Facebook. Aided and abetted, might I say, by Facebook. So I read that article and what that said to me was: Here it’s Super Tuesday; the Democrats are trying to decide who they want to nominate against Donald Trump, the coronavirus is spreading — we now have more and more reports from different places in the country — but led by Fox News and Breitbart and others, it’s going to be about my emails — a totally bogus, finished, nonsense attack on me."

She said conservative outlets "know how to deliver those stories through the algorithms into the feeds of millions and millions of people. Very clever, very diabolical, very destructive to the kind of fact-based environment and particularly news environment that is necessary for a democracy to function."

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