Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that while former President Donald Trump is likely to be the Republican nominee for president in 2024, she believes President Joe Biden can still beat him, describing the predicted rematch in stark terms.
“One will wreck our democracy. One violates the law on a regular basis. One appeals to the worst in our collective psyche. The other gets things done,” the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, which will air Monday. “Why is that a hard choice?”
Biden, Clinton continued, has done a “fantastic job,” pointing toward the his legislative victories such as 2021’s massive infrastructure spending package and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which enabled the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients. “But if you don’t want to be for him on the merits, the way I am, be for him because the alternative could end our democracy,” she said. “And I don’t say that lightly.”
Clinton also issued some of her harshest comments against Trump since January 6, 2021, comparing the section of the GOP base that still supports her 2016 rival to “a cult,” adding, “maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members.”
“And sadly, so many of those extremists, those MAGA extremists, take their marching orders from Donald Trump, who has no credibility left by any measure,” Clinton continued. “He’s only in it for himself.”
Clinton’s comments come days after a historic vote that ousted then-Speaker of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy, leaving Republican lawmakers scrambling for a replacement. A group of eight GOP lawmakers led by conservative firebrand Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz joined with Democrats in the 216-210 vote.
Recalling her eight years in the Senate, Clinton said that “there wasn’t this little tail of extremism waving, you know, wagging the dog of the Republican Party as it is today.”
McCarthy’s ouster, she said, made it clear that the GOP is in “an absolute hostage situation with its most extreme members.”
Clinton said McCarthy was “punished” by his party members for “doing the right thing” by pushing through a short-term funding bill with the help of Democrats that averted a government shutdown.
“He was not continuing to be captive to the far-right extremists. So they toppled him. It was a very small number as you look at the vote. But now we’re reaping the consequences of their misbehavior,” Clinton said. Asked if Democrats should have voted to save McCarthy, she stressed that it was a hard decision but the caucus could not trust the California Republican.
When asked about Rep. Jim Jordan, who is running for speaker, Clinton described the Ohio Republican as “one of the principal ringleaders of the circus” in the GOP.
“At some point, there needs to be a backlash against the control that this small group of extremists have. And I don’t know who will lead that, but let’s hope whoever becomes the new speaker will.”