Hillary Clinton Reveals Heartbreaking Story Behind Her Purple Concession Speech Suit

by Alexandra Svokos
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It was a moment that likely melded into the minds of every American alive today. After losing to Donald "grab them by the p*ssy" Trump in a shocking turn of events during the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton had to get on a stage and give her concession speech. On Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, Clinton wore a purple suit to address the nation. It turns out, that suit had even more of a heartbreaking story than it took on with that speech, as Clinton revealed in a new podcast released on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

She spoke about the experience on a new episode of With her, a podcast revived from the campaign trail. Election night went late into the evening on the East Coast, and in the twist of events, Clinton said she was "in no frame of mind" to step out onto a stage and talk on Election Night. So she waited until the next morning, at a hotel in New York, to give "a speech I never thought I'd have to give."

In fact, Clinton admitted this week, she didn't even have a concession speech prepared. So she and her team had to write it in those emotional moments. But, Clinton said on the podcast,  her next steps -- including finding a space for the speech, writing it, and calling Trump when the results became clear -- were comforting in a way, despite having lost an election to "someone who was not qualified or temperamentally prepared to be president." She knew she had to take them "for the country."

Clinton and her husband, Bill, both wore suits with purple accents. Many noted at the time that the mix of red and blue appeared to be a symbol of bipartisan togetherness. Clinton confirms that in her new bookWhat Happened, according to Vogue.

"The morning after the election, Bill and I both wore purple. It was a nod to bipartisanship (blue plus red equals purple)," Clinton wrote.

But there's more to the story of the suit.

Clinton originally had other plans for that suit. She picked it out as the outfit she would wear on her first day in Washington D.C. as president-elect. Instead, she wore it to concede the election. The suit she had picked out for Election Night went unworn.

"I was really proud to wear white for important events," Clinton explained on the podcast. "I was going to wear white again on the victory stage. I had it all ready."

Clinton had the suit with the purple lapels "that I was going to wear the first time I went to Washington as president-elect," she explained.

"I wanted to send the symbolic message, you know, 'I am going to be the president for everybody. I'm really proud and grateful to the 66 million people who voted for me, but I'm going to be the president of people who shellacked me. I'm going to do my best for everybody,'" Clinton recalled on the podcast. "And instead, I wore it, and Bill wore a purple tie, to send that message of unity and moving beyond blue and red states during the concession speech."

The former Secretary of State did not mince words about how that day -- and giving that speech -- felt.

"It was excruciating. It was unbelievably painful," Clinton said. "But, again, I thought, 'OK, I have to set an example. I'm shattered -- in my head, my heart, my soul -- but I'm not going to give into it, and I'm going to make my best efforts to encourage other people who supported me not to either -- and particularly young women and girls."

Clinton explained that she pushed to have the thrust of her speech be a message to young women and girls, rather than a rebuttal of Trump. And she gave that message in her speech, saying to young women and girls,

Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.

She gave this message to an emotional room -- and an emotional nation.

"I mean the people in the room where I was speaking were sobbing, and as we drove from one hotel to the next hotel, people on the streets were sobbing. This was high emotion," Clinton said on the podcast.

Once the speech was done, the Clintons got in a car, and Hillary "just felt like all of the adrenaline was drained. I mean, there was nothing left." She slumped over in the car, and every so often Bill would try to console her, until they got back to their home.