Hillary Clinton kicked off the Memorial Day Weekend news cycle comparing President Donald Trump to Richard Nixon, hoping his tenure ends similarly, and warning that people in power who invent their own facts and attack those who question them mark the beginning of the end of a free society.
Delivering Friday’s televised commencement address at Wellesley College, the former Dem presidential candidate noted she’d similarly given a commencement speech when she graduated the school, at a time when “we did not trust the government, authority figures, or anyone over 3o.”
‘We were furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency eventually ended in disgrace with his impeachment for obstructions of justice, after firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice,” Clinton smiled, as the audience roared its approval.
But these days, she warned, the advance of technology, the impact of the internet, and a fragmented media landscape have given new tools to political leaders willing to exploit fear and skepticism.
“You are graduating at a time when there is a full fledged assault on truth and reason,” she said. “People denying science, creating elaborate hurtful conspiracy theories about child abuse rings operating out of pizza parlors, drumming up rampant fear about undocumented immigrants, Muslims, minorities, the poor. Turning neighbor against neighbor, and sowing division at a time when we desperately need unity.”
Some are even denying things we see with our own eyes. Like the size of crowds. And then defending themselves by talking about ‘alternative facts’,” she added.
The GOP budget proposal, which she described as “an attack of unimaginable cruelty on the most vulnerable among us,” is “shrouded in a trillion-dollar mathematical lie. Let’s call it what it is. It’s a con. They don’t even try to hide it.”
“As the history majors among you here today know all too well, when people in power invent their own facts, and attack those who question them, it can mark the beginning of the end of a free society,” Clinton cautioned.
“That is not hyperbole. It is what authoritarian regimes throughout history have done. They attempt to control realty. Not just our laws and our rights… but our thoughts and beliefs.”
Same morning CNN reported former FBI director James Comey claims he acted on Russian intel he knew to be fake, in the bureau’s Clinton email investigation, the former Secretary of State told Wellesley grads, “you may have heard that things didn’t exactly go the way I’d planned.”
“But, you know what? I’m doing okay,” she said, joking, “I’ve gotten to spend time with my family…long walks through woods, organizing closets. I won’t lie – chardonnay helped a little too.”