Hillary Clinton hits Trump on gender diversity, lauds health care resistance efforts

The former presidential candidate slammed treatment of journalist April Ryan.

March 28, 2017, 9:38 PM

— -- Hillary Clinton condemned former rival Donald Trump Tuesday during a speech in California for the dearth of diversity in his administration and for his staff and supporters' treatment of women.

Giving the keynote address at the Professional Business Women of California Conference in San Francisco, Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, addressed gender inequality, including a moment earlier in the day in which White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer twice chastised journalist April Ryan for shaking her head as they engaged in a back-and-forth.

"Just look at all that's happened in the last two days to women who were simply doing their jobs. April Ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job just this afternoon in the White House press room when she was patronized and cut off trying to ask a question," said Clinton.

After Ryan asked a question about how the administration can "revamp its image," Spicer accused her of having an "agenda."

"I'm sorry that that disgusts you. You're shaking your head," said Spicer, who added moments later, "Please stop shaking your head again." Ryan later expressed her frustration on Twitter and told MSNBC she was felt like "road kill."

Clinton portrayed the moment as an "indignity" that "too many women -- especially women of color -- have had a lifetime of practice taking… in stride."

"But why should we have to?" asked Clinton. "And any woman who thinks this couldn't be directed at her is living in a dream world."

Clinton further admonished the administration for having the lowest number of female members "in a generation." Two women sit on Trump's cabinet -- Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao -- plus another two occupy cabinet level positions -- Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Administrator of the Small Business Association Linda McMahon -- out of 24 total posts at that level. During the campaign Clinton promised to fill half the seats with women.

The former first lady and secretary of state also brought up a moment from Fox News' "Fox & Friends" Tuesday in which conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly attempted to make a joke about Rep. Maxine Waters', D-Calif. appearance. Clinton called the comments a "taunt" and described the joke as "racist."

Clinton's speech turned optimistic when she addressed women's efforts to defeat the Republican-backed replacement for the Affordable Care Act, the American Health Care Act, last week, calling it a sign that efforts to organize could build off the momentum of January's Women's March on Washington.

"There were plenty of people, as you might expect, who wondered whether that level of energy and enthusiasm would be sustained and whether it would make any difference," said Clinton. "Well I'm here to tell you -- last week we saw the first indication that the answer to both of those questions is yes."

"When Congress and the administration tried to jam through a bill that would have kicked 23 million people off their health insurance, defunded Planned Parenthood, jeopardized access to affordable birth control, deprived people with disabilities and the elderly… they were met with a wave of resistance," she added.

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