By Dan Merica, CNN
Hillary Clinton bluntly said Wednesday that she doesn’t forgive the men and women who now say they regret not voting in the 2016 election, telling CNN that she offers no absolution for their failure to get involved.
In her new memoir “What Happened,” Clinton recalls “more than two dozen women” coming up to her and apologizing for “not voting or not doing more to help my campaign.”
In a Wednesday interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper — set to air in full on “Anderson Cooper 360” — Clinton said she does not forgive those men and women but hopes they learn from their failure to vote.
“When it first started happening, it was so soon after the election,” she said. “It was hard for me to comfort somebody who was coming to me and saying, ‘Oh, I wish I had done more,’ or, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t vote’ because I think this was one of the most consequential elections that we have faced in a long time.”
She added: “So, no absolution. But I just hope people will take what happened this time seriously and be ready and willing to vote the next time.”
Clinton, her campaign surrogates and top aides worked in the weeks before the election to boost turnout among a coalition of young, ethnic and women voters. That strategy didn’t work and Clinton failed to draw out the same coalition of voters who vaulted President Barack Obama to the White House, ultimately losing to Donald Trump.
Clinton writes with brutal honesty in her new book that she at times grew annoyed with people coming up to her and asking for forgiveness for not getting involved, remembering one young women whose mother forced her to “apologize for not voting.”
“I wanted to stare right in her eyes and say, ‘You didn’t vote? How could you not vote? You abdicated your responsibility as a citizen at the worst possible time! And now you want me to make you feel better?'” Clinton writes. “Of course, I didn’t say any of that.”
She adds: “These people were looking for absolution that I just couldn’t give. We all have to live with the consequences of our decisions.”
Clinton has used that same candor on her book tour, dispensing with her trademark caution to reflect on what she writes was a crushing and disorienting loss.
Clinton also uses her new memoir to take on some apathetic women voters for only getting involved once Trump won the White House.
Days after Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of women and men marched in cities across the country during what came to be known as the Women’s March. Clinton did not attend, writing that she decided to decline invitations because “it was important for new voices to take the state, especially on that day.”
And while Clinton writes that the protests helped her overcome the shock of Trump becoming president — “If the inauguration on Friday was the worst of times, Saturday turned out to be the best of times” — she does admit the day was “bittersweet.”
“I couldn’t help,” Clinton writes, “but ask where those feelings of solidarity, outrage and passion had been during the election.”