NBC Mourns With Chelsea Clinton: How Did You Handle Mom’s Loss ‘As a Human?’

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Sitting down for a friendly chat with Chelsea Clinton on Tuesday’s NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie sympathized with her one-time network colleague over Hillary Clinton’s “devastating” loss in the 2016 election: “Well, we know of course that your mom is a woman who inspires you....She’s actually been more in the spotlight recently, and really, I think, seeming to open up about the emotional process of dealing with an election loss. She’s called it a ‘crushing and devastating blow.’”

Guthrie fretted: “Set politics aside, just as a human, what has it been like for you as a daughter to see her kind of go through this process?” Predictably, Clinton gushed: “Well, I find my mother even more inspiring today than I did yesterday or last year or the year before that. She’s working on her book, and so as she said, I think that’s helping her process and heal.”

Still worried about her guest’s emotional well-being, the anchor followed up: “What’s it like to go through something like that as a family?” Clinton easily made contact with the softball pitch: “Well, clearly I was so sad for my mom, and yet, first and foremost, I’m now a mom and I’m a citizen....I’m far more focused on what we do to protect and advance progress than what happened last year.”

Guthrie eagerly touted how Clinton was “a little more active on Twitter these days” bashing the Trump administration and “a little sassier” in her social media tirades against the President. The host wondered: “Do you feel liberated nobody’s running for office?”

The presidential daughter declared: “I think we all have a responsibility to not stay silent now. I think we have to speak up and use whatever platforms we have, and certainly social media is part of that.”

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Guthrie wrapped up the exchange by pushing the obligatory liberal media hope that Clinton would one day follow her parents into politics: “You’re used to this, everyone always reads between the lines for anything that you or your family does or says. And some people think, okay, she might be gearing up to run for public office. Is that something you would like to do, someday?”

Clinton happily fed the speculation with her response:

You know, Savannah, I don’t have any plans to. I think we’ve talked about this before. I mean, one of my earliest memories is being three years old and standing on the side of one of my Dad’s campaign rallies....And a woman saying to me, “Chelsea, do you think you’ll run for governor of Arkansas one day?” And I think I said something like, “Ma’am, I’m three”....I don’t have any plans to run for office. I do plan to keep being an activist and raising my voice online and off.

Guthrie concluded: “I hear that as a maybe.”

Clinton was invited on the morning show to hock her new children’s book, which Guthrie enthusiastically promoted: “Chelsea Clinton has, of course, had a front-row seat to history....Well, now, the busy mom of two is out with a book for kids. It’s called, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World.”

The journalist helpfully reminded viewers of the left-wing inspiration for the title:

So a lot of people might recognize this line, “she persisted,” because of course it was something that the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said about Elizabeth Warren earlier this year. She was trying to read a letter on the floor of the Senate from Coretta Scott King. He said, “She was warned, but she persisted.” And what did you hear? Why did you think, “Now that’s a children’s book, that’s a message I want to emphasize”?

She conveniently left out the fact that Warren was admonished for accusing her then-fellow Senator and Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions of racism – a violation of the Senate’s rules of decorum.

Clinton skipped over the liberal lawmaker’s incivility as she proclaimed: “I don’t think he had any idea how many people, not just women, would take it as a badge of honor and gratitude for Senator Warren, even more for Coretta Scott King, and also for so many American women who persist everyday to make our country healthier, better, stronger.”

Guthrie hailed: “You do profile a series of women. I mean it runs the gamut, everybody from Sally Ride to Oprah to Justice Sotomayor. But the theme is ‘she persisted.’ So it’s more than just women and their accomplishments, it’s about women overcoming obstacles.”

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, NBC treated Chelsea Clinton to one fawning segment after another to advance her mother’s campaign:

NBC Gushes Over Fmr. Correspondent Chelsea Clinton Being 'X Factor' for Hillary

In Softball NBC Interview, Chelsea Clinton Dodges Hillary’s ‘Liar’ Label

Lauer to Chelsea: Should ‘Darkest Moments’ of Clinton Past be Off Limits?

Clinton, whom NBC awarded a $600,000 salary during her brief time at the network, was never grilled over Clinton Foundation corruption in which she was implicated.  

Here is a full transcript of the May 30 sit-down:

8:10 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Chelsea Clinton has, of course, had a front-row seat to history. She grew up in the White House, she actively campaigned for her mom, Hillary, during last year’s presidential race. She’s also the vice chair of the Clinton Foundation and teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Well, now, the busy mom of two is out with a book for kids. It’s called, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World. Chelsea, good morning. Good to see you.  

CHELSEA CLINTON: Good morning, Savannah, thank you so much.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Chelsea Clinton Speaks Out; Talks New Book, Election & What’s Next]

GUTHRIE: So a lot of people might recognize this line, “she persisted,” because of course it was something that the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said about Elizabeth Warren earlier this year. She was trying to read a letter on the floor of the Senate from Coretta Scott King. He said, “She was warned, but she persisted.” And what did you hear? Why did you think, “Now that’s a children’s book, that’s a message I want to emphasize”?

CHELSEA CLINTON: Well, I think it would an understatement to say I wasn't alone in being so struck by that moment when Senator Warren was determined to read Coretta Scott King’s letter on the Senate floor, and when her colleagues rebuked her. And yet, she went right outside the chamber and read the whole letter on Facebook Live. And when Mitch McConnell said, “She was warned, but nevertheless persisted.” I don’t think he had any idea how many people, not just women, would take it as a badge of honor and gratitude for Senator Warren, even more for Coretta Scott King, and also for so many American women who persist everyday to make our country healthier, better, stronger.  

GUTHRIE: You do profile a series of women. I mean it runs the gamut, everybody from Sally Ride to Oprah to Justice Sotomayor. But the theme is “she persisted.” So it’s more than just women and their accomplishments, it’s about women overcoming obstacles.

CLINTON: Yes. After that moment on the Senate floor, I was thinking, how could I explain this to my children? They’re very young. My daughter Charlotte’s two and a half. My son Aiden is 11 months old. I talk to them about the world already because I’m so grateful my parents did that for me as a child. So I was thinking, how do I explain this and how do contextualize it? And I was thinking about all the American women who’ve inspired me over time. My wonderful editor, Jill Santopolo, at Penguin, was thinking in terms of kind of pictures because that’s how her brain works. We decided to work on this together. And I wanted to share stories of American women who’ve inspired me and I hope will inspire others.  

GUTHRIE: Well, we know of course that your mom is a woman who inspires you. You’ve talked about that a lot. She’s actually been more in the spotlight recently, and really, I think, seeming to open up about the emotional process of dealing with an election loss. She’s called it a “crushing and devastating blow.” She made a joke the other day about Chardonnay helping a little bit, long walks in the woods. Set politics aside, just as a human, what has it been like for you as a daughter to see her kind of go through this process?

CLINTON: Well, I find my mother even more inspiring today than I did yesterday or last year or the year before that. She’s working on her book, and so as she said, I think that’s helping her process and heal. And she remains as committed to the fight she’s been engaged in for longer than either of us have been alive, Savannah. And so I think she’s also focused on what she can do to support campaigns, candidates’ efforts to keep advancing women’s rights, to keep supporting families and children.

GUTHRIE: What’s it like to go through something like that as a family?

CLINTON: Well, clearly I was so sad for my mom, and yet, first and foremost, I’m now a mom and I’m a citizen. So kind of sitting here today on May 30th, Savannah, I’m far more focused on what we do to protect and advance progress than what happened last year. I don't know if that’s just in my DNA or if it’s trying to live up to the example that my parents have always set for me that we always look toward the future.

GUTHRIE: We have noticed that you’re a little more active on Twitter these days. And would you agree you’re a little sassier on Twitter than we’ve seen, let’s say, before the election?

CLINTON: Well, last year when I was campaigning for my mom, I think really sort of up into my due date with Aiden, and then kind of being on the stage at the convention, so proud to support her there, just a few weeks after he was born. I did so many events for my mom, and I had the chance to share my thoughts, kind of publicly in those forums. I did lots of interviews. You know, now I continue to share my views after the Inauguration. I give speeches –

GUTHRIE: Do you feel liberated nobody’s running for office?

CLINTON: I don’t think what I say today is really any different than what I would have said had I been asked similar questions or had similar kinds of issues arisen kind of on a stage. But certainly I think we all have a responsibility to not stay silent now. I think we have to speak up and use whatever platforms we have, and certainly social media is part of that.

GUTHRIE: You’re used to this, everyone always reads between the lines for anything that you or your family does or says. And some people think, okay, she might be gearing up to run for public office. Is that something you would like to do, someday?

CLINTON: You know, Savannah, I don’t have any plans to. I think we’ve talked about this before. I mean, one of my earliest memories is being three years old and standing on the side of one of my Dad’s campaign rallies waving an American flag. Because when you’re three you kind of wave flags and hand out stickers or hold signs. And a woman saying to me, “Chelsea, do you think you’ll run for governor of Arkansas one day?” And I think I said something like, “Ma’am, I’m three.” And so, yes, Savannah, people have asked me this my whole life. I don’t think that being a citizen is just something that happens in an election year. I think it’s something that we have to feel a responsibility to every day. And these days, more than ever. I don’t have any plans to run for office. I do plan to keep being an activist and raising my voice online and off.

GUTHRIE: I hear that as a maybe. And yes, you’ve been getting this question for a very long time. Point taken. Chelsea Clinton, thank you so much, it’s a pleasure.

CLINTON: Thank you so much, Savannah.  

GUTHRIE: The book is called She Persisted, and it’s out today.