Hillary Clinton discusses Trump’s inauguration in 2017
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Speaking to US consul general Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau in an event organised by Queen’s University Belfast’s (QUB) last week, the former first lady blamed Northern Ireland’s recent unrest on “problems” created by Brexit. Mrs Clinton said that the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has created checks on goods between the province and the mainline UK, “undermines” the peace process. Many have accused her of blindly blaming the province’s complex problems on Brits exercising their democratic rights – completely ignoring years of sectarian division.
In 1998, her husband Bill Clinton was instrumental in getting the Republican and Unionist sides to sign the Good Friday Agreement which helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.
Mrs Clinton said that Joe Biden’s administration remains committed to this after cities including Belfast saw the worst rioting for decades in recent weeks.
She said: “When I was secretary of state I even had an envoy committed to economic activity that could create more jobs for the people of Northern Ireland.
“There is a very deep sense of connection with Northern Ireland.
“And I know that the Biden administration, the people who are in it, will be very attuned to what’s happening there.
“(They) will play whatever role they constructively can play in trying to make sure whatever problems Brexit has brought to the situation on the island and between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and the water barrier between the island and the UK.”
Both Mrs Clinton and her husband are not fans of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
In 2016, the former US president even felt that the British vote to leave the EU had been a “harbinger for a kind of screw-it vote in the United States” that helped Mr Trump to victory.
The drama of Secretary Clinton’s election in the Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan was detailed in “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Election Campaign”, which came out in 2017.
Political journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes told the hour by hour drama of how Mrs Clinton’s confidence was replaced by anxiety and then defeat as Mr Trump achieved the biggest upset in modern political history on November 9, 2016.
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The book claimed Mr Clinton felt that Brexit showed there was a “strong contempt for existing power structures that reflected the mood of the American electorate”.
The book said the former US president believed his wife’s team were “underestimating the significance of Brexit”.
Mr Clinton also came to power in 1992 by tapping into similar frustrations and he knew what it was like to be an insurgent candidate.
The two authors wrote: “Bill had a better feel for the working stiff, whether American or British, than anyone in Hillary’s orbit.
“He knew that and he felt like he was being heard.
“But he couldn’t figure out why Hillary and her team weren’t executing.”
On election night as it became apparent his wife would lose Florida, President Clinton had a “sinking feeling that the British vote to leave the European Union had been a harbinger for a kind of screw-it vote in the United States”.
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He said: “It’s like Brexit. I guess it’s real.”
Two years later, Mr Clinton said he was “worried” about Brexit and said the UK — “one of the greatest nations in human history” — could have been consigned to “a smaller role” because of the decision to leave the EU.
The former US president was speaking in New York at the unveiling of a Clinton portrait by the Irish artist Colin Davidson.
Asked by Irish broadcaster RTÉ if he is worried about Brexit, Clinton said: “I am.
“I’ve always been worried about it.
“Those who want a hard Brexit are portraying it as the liberation of the United Kingdom but if you look at the population trends and the wealth and productivity trends, they could be consigning one of the greatest nations in human history to a smaller role just so the people who have historically been in control can stay there. I think psychologically they haven’t thought this through.”
He added that “the British have much to bring to the EU, to bring to international order, they have much to bring in the fight against terrorism and it all has to be done in a cooperative atmosphere.”
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