In “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton’s new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, the former candidate described the pain of her surprise loss to President Donald Trump, and how the only thing she wanted on November 10 was to put on yoga pants, cuddle her dogs, and shut the rest of the world out.
After delivering her concession speech in Manhattan, Clinton left her distressed supporters and drove an hour to her home in Chappaqua, New York with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who, she wrote, repeatedly told her “I’m so proud of you” all morning.
“That day, the sight of our front gate was pure relief to me,” Clinton wrote. “All I wanted to do was get inside, change into comfy clothes, and maybe not answer the phone ever again.”
And she did just that.
“I put on yoga pants and a fleece almost immediately,” she wrote. “Our two sweet dogs followed me from room to room, and at one point, I took them outside and just breathed the cold, rainy air.”
The former senator and secretary of state then took a nap (necessary, she said, after an almost sleepless election night), ate dinner with her husband, and FaceTimed with her daughter, Chelsea, and two grandchildren, two-year-old Charlotte and five-month-old Aidan.
She added that every once in a while, she flipped on the news, but would be forced to turn it off quickly.
“The question blaring in my head was, ‘How did this happen?’,” she wrote.
But Clinton managed to avoid attempting to answer the question that day, and ignored the “virtual avalanche of messages” she knew she was receiving from colleagues, friends, and supporters.
“I couldn’t quite handle it — couldn’t handle everyone’s kindness and sorrow, their bewilderment and their theories for where and why we had fallen short,” she wrote. “Fortunately, I had the good sense to realise that diving into a campaign postmortem right then would be about the worst thing I could do to myself.”
While in the weeks that followed Clinton said she “dropped all pretense of good cheer” and was filled with anger and fear, the emotions didn’t set in immediately.
“On that first day, I just felt tired and empty,” she wrote. “The reckoning was still to come.”
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