In 2016, Hillary Clinton made a series of predictions about a Trump White House. Four years later, some of these have been “strikingly” spot on.
She hasn’t been so uncouth as to say “I told you so,” but Hillary Clinton could be forgiven a certain sense of internal smugness, even a slice of sweet revenge, with many of her warnings about the potential worst excesses of a President Donald Trump now proving to be strikingly accurate.
In the run up to the 2016 US presidential election, Mrs Clinton repeatedly imagined what a Trump White House would look like.
At the time, the warnings were brushed aside; an ascendant Mr Trump won the election with relative ease.
Mr Trump chalked up some successes during his single term. The economy continued to grow and unemployment fell – at least until COVID-19 hit. And the administration helped broker the resumption of diplomatic relations between Israel and a number of former foes, something that had alluded presidents past.
But four years after her defeat, and with the country scarred by the pandemic, various riots and now the storming of Congress, some of Mrs Clinton’s observations about her rival seem eerily accurate.
Those predictions included that Mr Trump would frame any defeat as being “rigged” and he would falter in a crisis harming Americans in the process.
“If you go back and review Hillary’s speeches and tweets and debate performances from 2016 – she was right about an awful lot,” Jennifer Senior, a senior editor at the New York Times, said in November.
“Not about everything. She had her share of lulus, like predicting that the election of Trump would set off a global financial panic and plunge the economy into a recession. (Oops. Took a pandemic to do that.)
“But she did have some strikingly good insights,” Ms Senior said.
In the same 2016 speech, Mrs Clinton also pondered how Mr Trump might deal with a crisis. From the pandemic to Black Lives Matter demonstrations, the devastating Puerto Rico hurricane to the deadly Charlottesville car attack, the US has faced a number of those since he came to office
“Now, just imagine if you can: Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office, the next time America faces a crisis. Imagine him being in charge when your jobs and savings are at stake.
“Is this who you want to lead us in an emergency? Someone thin-skinned and quick to anger who’d likely be on Twitter attacking reporters or bringing the whole regulatory system down on his critics when he should be focused on fixing what’s wrong? Would he even know what to do?”
In October 2016, Mrs Clinton said in a presidential debate that a Trump president would be a puppet for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and that he had “failed to admit that Russia has engaged with cyber attacks against the US”. He was a “puppet” she said, to which Mr Trump replied “you’re the puppet”.
The Mueller Report, handed down in 2019, found that Russia had indeed influenced the election in Mr Trump’s favour spreading “disinformation” and “violated US criminal law”. Although the report could not establish a link between the Trump campaign to the Russian interference.
Perhaps the most prescient of the failed presidential candidate’s predictions, however, was around the character of the eventual winner. Particularly, his apparent inability to understand that he can, sometimes, lose.
“Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him,” she said in a debate, also in October 2016.
“The FBI conducted a year-long investigation into my emails; they concluded there was no case – he said the FBI was rigged.
“He lost the Iowa caucus and the Wisconsin primary; he said the Republican primary was rigged against him.
“The Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering; he claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him.
“There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row, and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged.”
“I should have got that,” Mr Trump interjected to laughter.
But Mrs Clinton continued.
“This is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks. And it’s funny, but it’s also really troubling. That is not the way our democracy works.”
She then directly addressed statements made by Mr Trump prior to the 2016 poll where he said he might not accept the election result unless he was the winner.
“We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them,” she said.
“I for one am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.”
Of course, Mr Trump has made a number of predictions about his presidential rival. Chiefly that she would go to jail. Chants of “lock her up,” have echoed at his rallies. This prediction has not come to pass.