Democrats say they’d like Hillary Clinton to take a cue from President Obama and step out of the spotlight.
They say her string of remarks explaining her stunning loss in November coupled with the public remarks blaming the Democratic National Committee for the defeat – which many took as also critical of President Obama – are hurting the party and making the 2016 candidate look bitter.
The Hill interviewed more a dozen Democrats to discuss Clinton’s remarks, including many staunch Clinton supporters and former aides.
They said they understood the need for Clinton to explain what happened in the election, and many also empathized with Clinton’s anger over former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of a probe into her private email server.
But they also unanimously said Clinton needs to rethink her public blaming tour.
“Good God, what is she doing?” one longtime aide wondered after watching Clinton at the Recode conference in California on Wednesday. “She’s apparently still really, really angry. I mean, we all are. The election was stolen from her and that’s how she feels.
“But to go out there publicly again and again and talk about it? And then blame the DNC?” the aide wondered. It’s not helpful to Democrats. It’s not helpful to the country and I don’t think it’s helpful to her.”
Former Obama aides are among those scratching their heads over Clinton’s strategy.
At the Recode conference, she said she had inherited nothing from a “bankrupt” Democratic Party led by Obama for eight years.
“If she is trying to come across as the leader of the angry movement of what happened in 2016, then she’s achieving it,” said one former senior aide to Obama. “But part of the problem she had was she didn’t have a vision for the Democratic Party and she needs to now take a break and let others come to the forefront.”
Clinton’s remarks come at a point in time where the Democratic Party feels somewhat leaderless after the eight years of Obama and the surprise Clinton defeat.
Obama has largely gone out of public view, though he reappeared with a statement this week blasting President Trump for pulling the United States from the Paris climate deal.
Advisers to Obama have said he wants to give a new generation of leaders room