Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the first woman to clinch a major-party nomination for president, on Sunday responded to skepticism from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) that a woman could hold the nation’s highest office.
“I think that a woman will become our president at some point,” Clinton said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I certainly understand all of the obstacles you have to overcome to get there. But I continue to tell young women and girls that if they feel motivated to pursue political office, they should do so, with their eyes wide open about how hard it is.”
In an interview with GQ earlier this month, Ocasio-Cortez — herself an oft-cited name as a potential future presidential candidate — said her experience as a congresswoman showed her “how deeply and unconsciously, as well as consciously, so many people in this country hate women.”
Misogyny, Ocasio-Cortez said, “transcends political ideology,” and the patriarchy permeates all parties.
The second-term congresswoman talked about hearing from girls who say they want to see her as president, saying, “I admit to sometimes believing that I live in a country that would never let that happen.”
Clinton, who won the popular vote against then-Republican candidate Donald Trump in 2016 but lost the electoral college count, acknowledged Ocasio-Cortez’s concerns, but said it was still worth fighting to get a woman winning the White House.
“I think it’s sad that we have so many people who seem to either resent or oppose women in the public arena, whether it’s politics and government or the media or anything else. That’s something we have to keep standing up against and speaking out against,” Clinton said.
“Unfortunately, social media, with all of its misogyny, has made it more difficult, but we can’t be bullied into silence or giving up on our own dreams. We have to continue to pursue them and encourage others to do the same.”
Clinton, who became former President Obama’s secretary of state after losing to him in the 2008 Democratic primary for president, has been open about a number of her own battles with misogyny and sexism.
She revealed last week that she started wearing her now-mainstay pantsuits after press circulated “suggestive” photographs shot up the then-First Lady’s skirt.
On tour with daughter Chelsea to promote their women-focused docu-series “Gutsy,” Clinton also said last week that she won’t run again for president.
“But I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that we have a president who respects our democracy and the rule of law and upholds our institutions,” Clinton told CBS News.