The former first daughter on privilege, female leadership, dealing with critics, and how Trump ‘degrades what it means to be American’
When the American media describe Chelsea Clinton as royalty, they refer not to her popularity but to her ubiquity. Her very first home was the governor’s mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas; the family home she left for university 18 years later was the White House. Ordinarily, it’s only young royals who grow up in lavish official residences and the pitiless media spotlight, a permanent presence in our consciousness. It is a uniquely strange and unenviable version of celebrity that stole Clinton’s anonymity before she was old enough to spell it.
When we meet there is, therefore, a disconcerting sense of deja vu. Everything begins exactly as one might expect. On the previous day there had been the pre-interview call from one of her handlers, who was ostensibly warm and yet conveyed an impression of wary control, leaving me worried about how far I’d be allowed to stray from the subject of Clinton’s new book. The interview takes place at the Clinton Foundation, a vast but discreetly unadvertised expanse of midtown Manhattan office space populated by serious-looking people and elegantly adorned by African-inspired artwork chosen by Clinton’s father. Clinton is waiting in the glass boardroom; the interview starts precisely on schedule, to the second.