Hillary Clinton thanked and said goodbye to her campaign staff at the New York Marriott in Brooklyn last night, her first public appearance since her concession speech on Wednesday. In her remarks, she urged them to keep fighting for all of the accomplishments of the Obama administration and said that she’s heard from several people who are “scared” and “distressed” about the impact of a Trump presidency.
Speaking from a podium on stage at the hotel’s ballroom, she thanked over a hundred staffers in attendance for their hard work on the campaign and urged them to keep fighting for the ideals and issues they care about. “Thank you…for creating an inclusive, big-hearted, values-driven campaign about the sort of country we believe in, and want a chance to keep moving in the right direction,” she said.
Staffers in the audience held “Thank You” signs in the style of campaign placards, shouted “We love you,” and chanted Clinton’s name as she took the stage. Looking tired at first, then energized by the room, Clinton went on to recount wins and loses for Democrats over her long career in politics. “When we think about this arc of presidential elections, I want you to keep it in this broader perspective,” she said. “Because what we fought for in this campaign is as important today and will be as important on January 20th of 2017 and will be every month and year afterwards.”
She went on:
Wherever your future takes you I hope you will think about that. because we are going to win the popular vote by a significant amount. So remember, as discouraging as it may seem, more people in our country will have voted for the values that we represented and the positions we took. And that is a great tribute to this campaign and what it stood for.
Clinton’s speech followed speeches from her campaign manager Robby Mook, who led the crowd in cheers of “When they go low, we go high” and introduced campaign chairman John Podesta as “the man who fought off the Russians.” Following Podesta, Chelsea Clinton took the stage to talk about her pride in her mom. Bill Clinton also made a speech, thanking the staff for their hard work and reflecting on how he and Hillary both campaigned for George McGovern in 1972.
Hillary Clinton also looked back on her first political job on McGovern’s campaign, noting, with laughs from the crowd, that he was “wiped out by Richard Nixon—who didn’t last long, as you recall.”
Clinton also urged the room to keep fighting for the ideals that the campaign stood for, noting that after Bill took the White House, she went to the Senate and saw first-hand “how determined the other party is to literally turn the clock back.”
“We can’t just throw up our hands and walk away from these fights,” she went on. “Because people’s lives will be effected.”
Though Clinton never named Trump in her speech, she did talk about the immediate effects of a Trump presidency, saying that she’s heard from Americans who are “scared” and distressed:
Today, I heard from one of the people I met who lives in fear of her parents being deported and she’s scared to death that it’s going to happen. I heard from a young man I’ve known for a very long time, who is gay, and he said, “What’s going to happen to me? And what’s going to happen to my friends?” I’ve heard from countless women who know that the rights we’ve fought for are on the line.
On a hopeful note, Clinton mentioned the 1,200 roses she received yesterday from “predominantly—but not exclusively—young people” that fight against sexism and racism and homophobia. She brought the roses to the hotel and asked everyone to take one home. “Stay involved on behalf of the issues that you most care about,” she said. “Because lets be clear: we’re going to have to defend a lot of which has been accomplished.”