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Clinton Says Trump 'Gave Permission for People to Be More Sexist'

Rachel Maddow and Hillary Clinton

In an interview with Rachel Maddow, Hillary Clinton reaffirms she wasn't the sole target of Trump's misogyny.

As has been widely documented and deconstructed across news platforms and social media in general, Hillary Clinton has published her book What Happened and is now doing the requisite promotional tour. And despite the cries on the right and the far left for her to "shut up" and "go away," in a thoughtful interview with Rachel Maddow on her show Thursday, Clinton addressed issues the country faces under Donald Trump, including Vladimir Putin and Russian interference in the election, the very real threat from North Korea, and the misogyny that occurred that Clinton says in no uncertain terms happened primarily because Trump "gave permission for people to be much more sexist."

"I was taken aback by some of what he would say and the fact that people would vote for him even after the Access Hollywood tape," Clinton replied to Maddow's question about whether or not she thought sexism was worse in 2016 as compared to in 2008. "It just had a different feel to it. I think he was in large measure the determinative factor that made it so much worse in 2016."

Clinton acknowledged that, of course, sexism existed when she ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, but said Trump's abhorrent behavior was the catalyst for the deeply misogynistic treatment of women since he announced he was running for office.

"I ran against someone who demeaned women, degraded them, attacked them," Clinton said. "And again, not just me, but Miss Universe contestants and Republican women who dared to run against him and interviewers who questioned him. It was so rhetorically vile, what he said about so many women. And that lifted the top off of what had been much more restrained."

The former secretary of State told Maddow that another factor in the outing of misogyny in 2016 was the rise of social media.

"I think there were several different conditions that had to be dealt with for the first time," Clinton said. "Social media was not as unleashed [in 2008] as it was in 2016."

Since Clinton began promoting her book, dozens of think pieces have been written in an attempt to silence, her but she told Maddow that the call for silence about the subject is exactly the reason she continues to discuss it. She also addressed the hackneyed reasoning people put forth that they'd vote for a woman but just not her as an argument to prove they weren't sexist, especially in light of the fact that other potential female candidates are already under fire from people who claim they aren't misogynist, like the group peddling "#NeverKamala" on Twitter, referring to Sen. Kamala Harris.

"In that chapter [in What Happened] I have on being a woman in politics where I talk about endemic sexism and misogyny, I say look, 'It's not just about me.' There's that thing [people have said], well, 'I would have voted for another woman but not this woman,'" Clinton said. "And now that the potential 2020 candidates are starting to get some public attention, they're getting hit from both the left and the right. And sometimes when it comes from the left you're not sure whether it's a Russian pretending to be an American on the left or not."

Finally, as Maddow pointed out, Clinton is optimistic that dialogue about the way women in politics, in public, and in private are treated is the path to finally breaking that highest, hardest, glass ceiling of the presidency, and that it will be good for all women when it happens.

"I want to raise the visibility of these issues so that if women run for president in 2020 or in 2024, whenever it might happen, maybe more Americans will say, "You know, maybe I should actually listen to her and see what she has to say,' rather than say, 'Oh, I don't like her hair. Why is she wearing that color?'" -- the kinds of things that get in the way of giving women candidates the serious consideration we deserve," Clinton said.

Watch the full interview at The Rachel Maddow Show.

Watch the segment on misogyny below.

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