Clinton delivers stinging critique of Trump in Wellesley College commencement address

Clinton addressed the class of 2017 at her alma mater.

ByABC News
May 26, 2017, 1:02 PM

— -- Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has shied away from the spotlight until recently, delivered a stinging rebuke of President Donald Trump’s behavior and policies on Friday, despite not mentioning him by name.

Under a tent in the rain, Clinton delivered the 2017 commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College.

Clinton was met by cheers and applause when she made an indirect comparison between former President Richard Nixon and Trump.

“We were furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice after firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice,” said Clinton, referring to the outrage her generation felt toward Nixon's presidency.

“But here is what I want you to know: We got through that time, and we started to thrive as our society changed laws and opened the circle of opportunity and rights wider and wider for more Americans,” she added.

Clinton, whose losing 2016 presidential campaign was the target of Russian hacking, told the 2017 graduates they face “a full-fledged assault on truth and reason.”

“Just log on, just log onto social media for 10 seconds, it will hit you right in the face,” said Clinton. “People denying science. Concocting elaborate hurtful conspiracy theories about child abuse rings in pizza parlors, undocumented fears about immigrants, Muslims, minorities, the poor.”

Clinton called the budget proposed by the Trump administration "a con."

"Look at the budget that was just proposed in Washington," said Clinton. "It is an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us -- the youngest, oldest, poorest, and hard-working people that need a little help to gain or hang on to a decent middle-class life. It grossly underfunds mental health and an attempt to combat the opioid epidemic. It puts our nation at risk. And to top it off, it is shrouded in a trillion-dollar mathematical lie. Let's call it what it is. It is a con."

She also talked about how she has spent her time out of the public eye and what has helped her get over her election defeat.

“You may have heard that things didn't exactly go the way I planned,” said Clinton. “But you know what? I'm doing OK. I’ve gotten to spend time with my family, especially my amazing grandchildren.”

Clinton joked that long walks in the woods and organizing her closets have helped her move on, and added, “I won’t lie, Chardonnay helped a little too.”

Earlier this month, Clinton announced she is launching “Onward Together,” a political action group aimed at encouraging people to run for office. “More than ever, I believe citizen engagement is vital to our democracy. I'm so inspired by everyone stepping up to organize and lead,” Clinton tweeted.

Clinton gave the college’s first-ever student graduation speech in 1969, and returned in 1992 to deliver the commencement address when she was the first lady of Arkansas and wife of then-Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton.

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