Hillary and Chelsea Clinton talk about new book, President Donald Trump, Mayor Lori Lightfoot — and reasons to be optimistic


Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea came to Chicago on Monday to talk about their new book, but they also found time to talk about the challenges facing women in politics, the 2020 presidential election, 2016 nemesis Donald Trump, the Democratic field — and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“Whoever gets the nomination should come talk to you, you carried every ward in Chicago,” the former Secretary of State said to Lightfoot.

Lightfoot and the Clintons were the last set of speakers at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance as part of a Chicago Ideas Week talk on whether or not policy should have a conscience.

The former first lady said the Democratic presidential candidates must do a “balancing act,” one that requires talking about impeachment and their own vision for the future equally.

“I think it will be better this time because hopefully the press will have learned that they have to be much more thoughtful and determined to break through that fog he puts up,” Hillary Clinton said of Trump. “I do think though there’s a big difference this time and that is he’s actually been in office so all of the crazy promises that he made, all of the promises he hasn’t kept, all of the behaviors that we’re seeing … there’s just now a lot of evidence of how unsuited he is to be president.”

For the most part, Lightfoot and the Clintons talked about the Clintons’ book, “The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.”

One of the women featured is Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, and a figure whom Hillary Clinton and Lightfoot both admire. Lightfoot’s daughter portrayed her for a class project a few years back, the mayor said.

“She once was asked … ‘well, you’re African American and a woman, which is harder?’ and she goes ‘you know, being a woman — it’s been harder because a lot of people don’t think that a woman should be in Congress, and a woman shouldn’t be running for president’ and I thought ‘oh, that’ll change,” the former presidential candidate said.

Others who spoke during the night included JD Vance, the author of “Hillbilly Elegy;” senior writer for “Rolling Stone” Jamil Smith; Samantha Power, a former US ambassador to the UN, and Helene Gayle, president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust.

There were also lighter, non-political moments in the Clintons’ part of the night. When asked what books the former first lady reads to her grandkids, she replied to laughs, “oh, the Constitution.”

In another moment, Chelsea Clinton ribbed her mom for writing, and editing, longhand.

“When kind of everything started to be put into the manuscript and we were really editing and editing, and she would print it out and then write on the page and then send me that,” Chelsea Clinton said. “Come on ‘track changes’ are your friend — and it just never became her friend.”

Despite there being reasons to be cynical about the state of the country, the former first daughter said there are reasons to be hopeful — especially heading into an election year.

“There are many reasons to be cynical about our country right now and yet, I would argue there are even more reasons to be optimistic and hopeful,” Chelsea Clinton said. “Hopefully young people feel that they themselves are reason to be optimistic and take that optimism to the polls.”

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