Hillary Clinton Talks Policy, Systemic Racism, Bad Dancing On the Breakfast Club

Hillary Clinton gave a new interview to The Breakfast Club, the morning show hosted by Angela Yee, DJ Envy and Charlemagne the God on New York hip-hop radio station Power 105.1. After a little light conversation about how Bill proposed, cardio, Beyoncé and her bad dancing (dabbing on Ellen was neither her idea nor pandering, she says), Clinton got down into the fundamentals of policy, and what emerged was one of the best interviews any pop culture-focused media has conducted during the primaries thus far.


At the start of the interview, after Clinton gave Charlemagne a proper New York pound, Yee mentioned that “we didn’t know this was gonna happen, because your team vetted Charlemagne a lot, because he has given you ‘Donkey of the Day,’” essentially a daily jackass award for media gaffes.

Clinton pulled that fact out cheekily later when the group is talking about Trump, who Charlemagne calls “the Antichrist.” “I think he’s the Donkey of the Decade,” she quipped, deadpan.

While it’s often seemed like Clinton’s media tour has been tailored to outlets who will lob softball questions about her Versace dresses, The Breakfast Club posed real, practical questions on the cusp of the New York primaries—such as Yee’s question about whether her popularity here and elsewhere is due to “brand recognition”—which Clinton agreed that “it’s both my strength and, in some peoples’s eyes, my weakness,” before emphasizing her experience in shaping policy.

The questions about “superpredators,” racism and Black Lives Matter began when Clinton said that if she becomes, President she’ll invite The Breakfast Club to the White House:

Yee: If he has a criminal record, can he get in the White House?

Charlemagne: I have one, I’m a “superpredator,” or I used to be.

Clinton: Oh, well. I’m glad you’ve refined yourself.


Charlemagne: We mentioned the “superpredator” thing. We’ve had discussions about that; the phrasing isn’t what bothers me, I think what bothers me is when people talk about the superpredators but don’t talk about the system that created the superpredators... how do we address the system for that?

Clinton: Well, first of all, I’ve said, I should not have used that word, and you know, I was talking about drug gangs and traffickers and cartels, but it was a poor choice of words. But that’s why the very first speech I gave in this campaign, I went up to Columbia with David Dinkins, someone I really like and admire, because he broke down a lot of barriers.... Let me just make a few points: we need criminal justice reform, and it’s not enough to just have body cameras, although we should have that. We’ve gotta retrain police, we’ve gotta rebuild respect between the communities we’re sworn to protect, and I think President Obama’s policing commission lays a good foundation for that, and I’ve said I will absolutely follow through on it... There is systemic racism that has to be called out and addressed, and I believe I’m in a position to be able to build on the work that Eric Holder, President Obama and others have done by saying this, Look: white people have to recognize that there is systemic racism. And we have to not only address it in the criminal justice system [...] we have to address it in jobs, health care, education, everything else. Because there is such ongoing discrimination, and a lot of white people say look, that’s over with, right? We had the Civil Rights Movement, President Obama, what’s the deal? So therefore I think I’m in a good position to say wait, there’s a lot more we have to do.

This is one of the the more thorough conversations we’ve seen with Clinton discussing race and gender in a relaxed setting. Props to the Breakfast Club for posing smart questions, as they did with Sanders. But also, thank you Angela Yee for asking this:

Yee: Do you believe in ghosts?

Clinton: I believe in spirits!


The Noble Renard

I think this speaks to one of the things people have said about her; that she’s absolutely fired up and a totally different person when she’s talking policy and substance, compared to campaigning. Politico had an interesting article on this from someone who’d reported on her both when she was Secretary of State and on the campaign trail, who concluded that it’s clear she absolutely hates campaigning, but loves actually doing work, which rather than stressing her out makes her loosen up and come alive. She’s a workaholic who’s uncomfortable doing non-substantive things, which is legitimately the entirety of campaigning.

So when they gave her a chance to actually talk policy, seems like the loose, comfortable Hillary came out to play.