Hillary Clinton was visibly emotional as she read the speech she hoped to deliver on the evening of the 2016 general election she ultimately lost to former President Donald Trump.
Clinton delivered the speech as part of an upcoming MasterClass lesson. An excerpt of her speech was shared on TODAY Wednesday, a day ahead of the full MasterClass release.
"In this lesson, I’m going to face one of my most public defeats head-on by sharing with you the speech I had hoped to deliver if I had won the 2016 election," Clinton said in the video, which you can watch below.
Clinton noted at the top of the video she had never shared the speech with anyone nor read it out loud, but said it encapsulated much of who she is and what she believes.
She then proceeded to read:
""My fellow Americans, today you sent a message to the whole world," she says. "Our values endure. Our democracy stands strong. And our motto remains: e pluribus unum. Out of many, one."
"We will not be defined only by our differences. We will not be an us versus them country. The American dream is big enough for everyone. Through a long, hard campaign, we were challenged to choose between two very different visions for America. How we grow together, how we live together, and how we face a world full of peril and promise together.
"Fundamentally, this election challenged us to decide what it means to be an American in the 21st century. And for reaching for a unity, decency, and what President Lincoln called 'the better angels of our nature.' We met that challenge."
Referring to the significance of what becoming the nation's first female President would have meant, Clinton said:
"Today with your children on your shoulders, your neighbors at your side, friends old and new standing as one, you renewed our democracy. And because of the honor you have given me, you have changed its face forever. I’ve met women who were born before women had the right to vote. They’ve been waiting a hundred years for tonight."
"I’ve met little boys and girls who didn’t understand why a woman has never been president before. Now they know, and the world knows, that in America, every boy and every girl can grow up to be whatever they dream — even President of the United States.
Clinton later addressed partisan divisions, divisions she could not have entirely known would become more tense and heightened when former President Trump took office.
"In a country divided by race and religion, class and culture, and often paralyzing partisanship, a broad coalition of Americans embraced a shared vision of a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America."
"An America where women are respected and immigrants are welcomed. Where veterans are honored, parents are supported, and workers are paid fairly."
"An America where we believe in science, where we look beyond people’s disabilities and see their possibilities, where marriage is a right and discrimination is wrong. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, or who you love."
She even addressed and offered grace to those who didn't support or vote for her, saying they too "have a role to play in our great American story."
"An America where everyone counts and everyone has a place. A place and a purpose. Because we all have a role to play in our great American story. And yes, that absolutely includes everyone who voted for other candidates or who didn’t vote at all."
Finally, Clinton spoke about her mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham, who died in 2011. She said her mother would be the one person she would have loved to inform about the milestone of becoming the first female President.
Noting her mother faced significant harships as a child, Clinton said, were it possible, she'd love to find her mother on the train she took at the age of eight after being sent away to California to live with her grandparents after her parents divorced.
"I dream of going up to her, and sitting down next to her, taking her into my arms, and saying, 'Look at me. Listen to me. You will survive. You will have a good family of your own. And three children. And as hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will grow up and become the President of the United States.'
Clinton then concluded her speech with a promise to make the United States "even greater than it has ever been, for each and every one of us."
"I am sure of this as anything I have ever known: America is the greatest country in the world. And from tonight going forward, together, we will make America even greater than it has ever been, for each and every one of us. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America."
Many were significantly moved by Clinton's speech and praised her for sharing it and opined over what could have been.
Former President Trump cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election he supposedly won almost from the moment Clinton conceded and regularly attacked her while in office.
In 2017, Trump called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate Clinton for "all of the dishonesty," which came as then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives escalated.
Trump has continuously dismissed the assessment from U.S. intelligence it was confident Russia was behind the hacks of internal records at the Democratic and Republican National Committees and has suggested the conclusion of Russian interference was politically motivated.
However, Mueller's report was quite damning.
While the report did not find sufficient evidence the campaign "coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities" to level its own charges, it stated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was illegal and the Trump campaign welcomed and encouraged these efforts.
The report also found Trump tried many times to obstruct the investigation, but his associates often "refused to carry out his orders."