Hillary Clinton is back in the spotlight, and she's not holding back any punches.
On Tuesday, the former presidential candidate made an appearance at the Women for Women International's annual luncheon in New York City. Women for Women International is a non-profit dedicated to supporting women worldwide who have survived war, poverty, and injustice. For this year's event, they invited Clinton and CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour to discuss the topic of "women, peace, and security." But naturally, their conversation drifted a little towards some of the more expected topics: foreign policy, sexism in the United States, and the 2016 presidential election.
Clinton was fierce in her responses, looked relaxed, and even threw around one or two sarcastic jokes. Refinery29 was at the luncheon, and we rounded up the most important takeaways from Clinton's live interview.
She knows it's her fault she lost the election — but she doesn't only blame herself
For the first time since the 2016 election, Clinton spoke extensively about her crushing defeat.
She joked repeatedly about her upcoming memoir and said the process of writing the book has been "cathartic," but also "excruciating" and "painful."
When asked point-blank by Amanpour whether she blamed herself for losing the race, Clinton was frank.
"I take absolute personal responsibility," she said. "I was the candidate, I was the person who was on the ballot. I am very aware of the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had."
But, she always pointed at the letter FBI Director James Comey sent to congressional leaders in late October, saying the agency was reopening an investigation into the emails she sent using her private email server during her time as secretary of state. (Two days later, he said there wasn't anything incriminating in the FBI's new information.)
"[I was] on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off," Clinton said at the luncheon.
She added, "If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president."
She addressed important women's issues, such as equal pay and gender equality
Clinton was emphatic on the importance of including women's issues when shaping U.S. foreign policy, and she called women's rights the "unfinished business of the 21st century."
After all, just yesterday there were reports that the White House would eliminate a core girls' education initiative championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama. (The administration later denied it was getting rid of the program.)
"I publicly request that this administration not end our efforts making women's rights and opportunities central to our foreign policy," Clinton said.
She also breached the subject of sexism and misogyny in the modern day United States. She believes it played a role in her defeat, but also that it permeates the everyday life of all women.
"It’s real — very much a part of the landscape politically, socially and economically," she said, before tackling the issue of equal pay.
"We know it's a problem in our country," she said. "It's not something that exists far away. It exists right here. And it's really troubling to me that we are still grappling with how to deal in a economy to ensure that people who do the work that is expected of them get paid fairly and equally."
She cited a recent federal court ruling that said employers can take into account what women got paid in their previous jobs, which sets up women to be paid less than their male counterparts for the same role.
In the end, she highlighted that we are a time where women's rights have taken a backseat. But it's on everyone to fight against the possibility of rolling back the clock on gender equality.
Clinton said, "Whatever your political party, whatever your ideological bent, you got a stake as a woman and a man...in ensuring that the promise of equality that we hold out, and the efforts that so many men and women made over decades to secure it, don’t go backwards."
She also called out President Trump's Twitter habits
After mentioning the election, Amanpour joked that maybe the president would tweet about what Clinton had just said. Clinton didn't hold back.
"If he wants to tweet about me, I'm happy to be the diversion because we've got lots of other things to worry about," she said. "And he should worry less about the election, and my winning the popular vote, than doing some other things that would be important to the country."
She plans on being an "activist citizen"
Even though she addressed many thorny issues, Clinton's camp has emphasized she is not thinking of resuscitating her own political career. In fact, she says she is now part of the "resistance."
"I can't be anything other than who I am," Clinton said. "And I spent decades learning about what it would take to move our country forward — including people who clearly didn't vote for me — to try to make sure we dealt with a lot of these hard issues that are right around the corner like robotics and artificial intelligence and things that are really going to be upending the economy for the vast majority of Americans, to say nothing of the rest of the world."
She added, "So I'm now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance."