Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that President Donald Trump staged a “political rally” at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s ceremonial swearing-in that “further undermined the image and integrity of the court.”
“What was done last night in the White House was a political rally. It further undermined the image and integrity of the court,” Clinton, Trump’s Democratic 2016 election opponent, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.
“And that troubles me greatly. It saddens me. Because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government. So I don’t know how people are going to react to it. I think, given our divides, it will pretty much fall predictably between those who are for and those who are against,” Clinton said.
“But the President’s been true to form,” she continued. “He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign — really for many years leading up to the campaign. And he’s continued to do that inside the White House.”
When Trump hosted Kavanaugh and his family at a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House on Monday night, he apologized “on behalf of our nation” to the newly minted justice for the difficult confirmation process.
“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,” Trump said. “Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation. Not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception. What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process.”
Democrats must be tougher, Clinton says
Just days after Democrats lost their bitter fight to keep Kavanaugh off the high court, Clinton told Amanpour that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, thinks that “Democrats have to be tougher.”
“Bill had to be incredibly strong – first to get elected, then to get re-elected and to survive. And it was not easy by any means, obviously. But he really believes that Democrats have to be tougher,” she said, adding that he also thinks the party will “have to stand up to the bullying and intimidation” from Republicans.
Clinton told Amanpour that she thinks that in the future her husband will “have things to say about his own experience and how it applies here.”
The former President has previously been vocal about his views on Trump’s presidency. In June, he said impeachment hearings would have begun if a Democratic president, instead of Trump, were in power and the Russia investigation was as far along as it was at that time. Clinton himself was impeached in 1998 by the House, but the Senate acquitted him, preventing his removal from office.
The former secretary of state also told Amanpour that Democrats need to draw a hard line against Republicans.
“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” she said. “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”
“But until then, the only thing Republicans seem to recognize is strength,” she said.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Dan Merica contributed to this report.