Hillary Clinton Finishes Her Unfinished Business With Donald Trump

Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election Saturday, bringing an end to the "unfinished business" that Hillary Clinton said was left to fester following her loss to President Donald Trump in 2016.

The former secretary of state's loss to Trump was to many pollsters and citizens a shocking outcome in what initially seemed like a cut-and-dried race. Trump's personal attacks on Clinton began early in the 2016 election cycle—and despite winning the presidency, he did not let up on the criticisms and accusations in the years since.

Calls to "Lock her up!" became a rallying cry at Trump's campaign events and grew into a default response to politicians with whom Trump butted heads. A comment he made during the third presidential debate in 2016 about Clinton being a "nasty woman" was co-opted as a phrase of pride for some liberal women. He repeatedly accused her of having conflicts of interest and questionable ties to Wall Street financiers, and he recently said that Democrats never accepted her failed presidential bid.

Clinton had attacks of her own for Trump and his supporters in 2016. A comment she made about his supporters being part of a "basket of deplorables" drew backlash from conservatives after it went viral, and she accused Trump of having thin skin, calling women names and of engaging in "racist behavior."

In the years since, she has told reporters that Trump is a "clear and present danger" to the country and said last month that the thought of Trump winning re-election made her "literally sick to my stomach."

During an appearance on comedian Conan O'Brien's recent podcast, Clinton drew comparisons between Trump and past U.S. presidents, and she widely criticized Trump's leadership while in office.

Hillary Clinton
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the "Hillary" press conference during the 70th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 25, 2020, in Berlin, Germany. In the weeks before the 2020 presidential election, Clinton said she hoped the election would be about "reclaiming any ground that's been lost." Andreas Rentz/Getty

"I think that Trump and his enablers gave a lot of permission to people to say things and act in ways that were deeply racist and misogynistic," Clinton told O'Brien.

Biden has presented himself as a stark contrast to Trump and said throughout his presidential campaign that he was running to represent all Americans regardless of their party affiliation. He also promoted his campaign as a return to civility in an era defined by the bipartisanship that has intensified over the last four years.

"Part of what I hope part of this election will be about is reclaiming any ground that's been lost and continue to push forward because it's unfinished business," she said, pointing specifically to the protests that have swept across the U.S. in recent months and demands to end systemic racism.

"I'm hoping that we end this experiment, this national nightmare, in this election," she told O'Brien.

I think that Trump and his enablers gave a lot of permission to people to say things and act in ways that were deeply racist and misogynistic.
Hillary Clinton

In addition to the personal attacks that Clinton and Trump exchanged over the years, Trump made repeated efforts to question the integrity and legality of Clinton's time as secretary of state during former President Barack Obama's first term in office.

Those efforts were spurred on four months before the 2016 election when James Comey, then-director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced that the bureau was investigating Clinton's use of a personal email server during her time leading the State Department.

Though Comey said using a private email server to communicate about potentially sensitive information was "extremely careless," he said there was no evidence to suggest that Clinton or her team acted with the intention of breaking any laws.

An investigation concluded under Trump's own State Department also cleared Clinton last year of wrongdoing related to her use of a private email server. Even so, Trump revived the discussion about Clinton's emails earlier this year and said he had instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to publicly release the emails in the department's possession.

Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands after the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. Getty/Drew Angerer

Just weeks before Trump's January 2017 inauguration, a dossier alleging ties between Trump, members of his team and Russia was leaked to the public. Shortly after the publication of the "Steele dossier," so named for the British spy who compiled it, The New York Times reported that Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped pay the political intelligence firm Fusion GPS for Christopher Steele's investigation. Trump has frequently pointed to the dossier as evidence that efforts made by Clinton and other Democratic opponents to undermine him started before his presidency began.

Nearly four years after the dossier was made public, Clinton delivered a virtual endorsement of Biden during the Democratic National Convention in August and has been active on social media over the past few days to encourage patience as election workers continued counting ballots in what was such a contentious presidential race.

While Biden also advised patience and reassured Americans that every vote would be counted, Trump took a different approach and said without evidence that Democrats were trying to "steal" the election from him while his campaign attempted to halt ballot-counting efforts by launching lawsuits in a handful of battleground states.

On Election Day, Clinton posted on Twitter reminders to voters that if they were in line at the time polling places in their area closed, they still were allowed to cast their ballots. In the following days, she also posted reminders to absentee voters to confirm that their ballots had been accepted and take action to fix a rejected ballot in areas where doing so was allowed.

Clinton didn't call out Trump directly on Twitter on Tuesday, but she did post a comment about counting ballots that seemed to take issue with the Trump campaign's attempts to halt ballot counting.

"We'll know the election results when every ballot is counted. That's how democracy works," Clinton tweeted.

Once the race was called for Biden, Clinton celebrated the victory in another post on Twitter Saturday.

"The voters have spoken," she wrote, "and they have chosen @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris to be our next president and vice president. It's a history-making ticket, a repudiation of Trump, and a new page for America. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. Onward, together."

The voters have spoken, and they have chosen @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris to be our next president and vice president.

It's a history-making ticket, a repudiation of Trump, and a new page for America.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. Onward, together. pic.twitter.com/YlDY9TJONs

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 7, 2020

Newsweek reached out to Trump's campaign for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.