Former presidential candidate and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took to the stage at Yale University’s graduation ceremony in order to share a moment of mirth and to issue a somber warning to the young folks about to leave college and begin their lives in a very different world than the one they knew when they began their studies.
Shortly into her speech, Clinton unveiled a prop she had brought for the occasion, to the delight of the audience.
“I see, looking out at you, that you are following the tradition of over the top hats. So I brought a hat, too: A Russian hat! I mean, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!”
“I see, looking out at you, that you are following the tradition of over the top hats,” Hillary Clinton says at Yale University's Class Day. “So I brought a hat, too: A Russian hat” #tictocnews pic.twitter.com/Vxdlf8eFCx
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) May 20, 2018
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The hat, of course, is a reference to the Russian interference in the 2016 election that contributed to her stunning defeat and began the Special Counsel’s investigation that has dominated the news for the past year or so.
She couldn’t quite bring herself to actually don the traditional Russian ushanka hat, which bore the hammer-and-sickle motif of the Soviet Union. While the insistence on red-baiting and associating the modern Russian kleptocracy with the long-gone Soviet Union is frankly unnecessary and counterproductive, the point was well-made and an amusing nod to the Yale tradition of wearing silly hats to Class Day.
The talk quickly turned serious, however, as Clinton went on to issue a sharp warning about the direction that our increasingly unhinged and authoritarian leader is taking our nation.
“We are living through a full-fledged crisis in our democracy…There are certain things that are so essential they should transcend politics, Waging a war on the rule of law and a free press, de-legitimizing elections, perpetrating shameless corruption, and rejecting the idea that our leaders should be public servants undermines our national unity.”
Her warning to the latest class to graduate from her alma mater couldn’t be more timely as the President and the Justice Department barrel toward a confrontation over the FBI’s monitoring of his campaign during the 2016 election, a clash that could very well lead to a constitutional crisis.
She left the students with some heartfelt advice to carry with them into the future: “You will make mistakes in life. You will even fail. It happens to all of us, no matter how qualified or capable we are — take it from me.”
Watch her entire speech here: