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OPINION | Hillary should have called Trump a creep to change history

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Throughout the day on Wednesday, the political community was buzzing about the upcoming book from Hillary Clinton on the 2016 presidential campaign, titled “What Happened,” which will be formally released in September but has already vaulted to the top of the Amazon best-seller list based on advance sales.

In an excerpt of the book leaked to Morning Joe Wednesday morning, Clinton discussed one of her debates with Trump when he virtually stalked her on stage, standing closely behind her with a menacing glare while she was using her time to discuss the issues facing the nation.

{mosads}As Clinton tells the story in her book, at the moment that Trump physically invaded her space, he was making her skin crawl, and she was thinking about whether to turn around, face him directly, and say, “Back up you creep.”


Imagine how history might have changed if she had done this! Imagine how history might have changed if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) had done something similar during the GOP primaries when Trump suggested his father had a role in the Kennedy assassination! Or if Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had responded to Trump’s “little Marco” insult with a better response than initiating a strange discussion about the size of Trump’s hands!

Upon such matters, the leadership of a great nation was decided, not for the better, based on the views of the majority of voters who express steadfast disapproval of Trump in poll after poll.

It is far too early to render a serious judgment on the Clinton book before it is formally released and the totality of the case she makes can be fully assessed.  Based on pre-publication promotion, we know for certain that she will take significant responsibility for her defeat, which is good.  

We also know that she will aggressively attack the Russian cyberwar against America designed to undermine her candidacy and elect Trump as president, about which she is right. She will also condemn the last minute intervention by then-FBI Director James Comey days before the election, announcing that the investigation of her was reopened without a shred of evidence to justify this, which certainly deserves condemnation by all fair-minded people.

My hope is that in the book, Clinton honestly and courageously addresses two major questions about the campaign.

The first question is why a majority of white women voters chose Trump, a bully who has demeaned a long list of women who met his disfavor, over Clinton, who would have been the first woman president and has been a lifetime champion of the rights of women.

The second question involves the role of President Obama in combatting the Russian cyberattack against America, which many, including myself, argued then and believe now was weak and inadequate. Clinton is right to harshly criticize Trump for his praise of Putin and to harshly criticize Putin for his attack against America.

But an honest book, which I hope she offers, will also criticize Obama for his lack of an aggressive response to Putin when he could have affected the course of events.

No doubt, as the Clinton book promotion shifts into high gear, Trump will not be able to resist a “tweetstorm” of attacks against Clinton, who he still calls “crooked Hillary.” No doubt he would still enjoy the sound of his supporters chanting “lock her up.”

On this, Clinton will get the last laugh. Trump’s conflicts of interest make Clinton look like a saint by comparison.  

With special counsel Robert Mueller moving his investigation of Trump and associates into high gear on matters ranging from potential obstruction of justice to potential collusion with Russians to potential financial crimes, whatever Mueller does or does not ultimately find, one can easily imagine Clinton supporters beginning their own chant of “lock him up.” 

As to whether Trump is a creep who makes voters’ skin crawl, there is much public support for that view, which is why many Senate Republicans, who may secretly agree with Clinton, are now rebelling in growing numbers against Trump.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He is a longtime regular columnist for The Hill and can be contacted at

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill. 

Tags Business Donald Trump presidential campaign Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton James Comey Marco Rubio Stop Trump movement Ted Cruz United States

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