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'Hillary' Director on Why Hillary Clinton Never Says Donald Trump's Name

Newsweek logo Newsweek 3/6/2020 Samuel Spencer
Hillary Clinton standing in front of a book shelf: Hillary Clinton's Hulu documentary will air in March © Hulu Hillary Clinton's Hulu documentary will air in March

Based on more than 30 hours of interviews director Nanette Burstein conducted with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Hillary on Hulu sees the 2016 presidential candidate speak candidly about the key political moments in her life and the people directly involved in them, from Bernie Sanders (about whom she says some very strong words) to Monica Lewinsky. However, there is one person whose name she refuses to use.

In the four episodes of Hillary, she never uses the name of President Donald Trump, preferring to refer to him with terms like "my opponent" or simply "he."

When Newsweek asked Burstein whether this was a trick of editing or a pattern in Clinton's interview, the director said, "She never used his name, almost never, and that was a very conscious decision on her part.

"And I noticed that she does that all the time. You know, she'll call him 'the incumbent' or 'our current president' or 'my opponent' when she was running against him. Yeah, she does not like to use his name."

This habit of Hillary's to not use Trump's name can be seen in a number of recent interviews. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in January, for example, the former First Lady refers to the President as "the current incumbent," while on Jimmy Fallon in March she referred to Trump as, "what we currently have in the White House."

Asked why she thought Clinton refused to use her former rival's name, Burstein said, "I think that she has a lot of anger about him, and is probably so enraged that she prefers to not even say his name.

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"A lot of people who are Democrats, all Democrats that I know, are so upset that he's our current president. So imagine being the person that lost and feeling responsible for the daily barrage of insanity that's happening in our current political [situation] and in the Oval Office now. I think it's personal. It's not just like 'oh, he did this to me, but it's like 'oh God, I feel responsible.'"

In contrast, Trump has no problem using Hillary's name. According to Awario's analysis of 36,000 of the President's tweets up to January 2019, "Hillary" is his 20th most-used word of all time. His peak usage of Clinton's name came the month before the 2016 election in October, when he tweeted the word "Hillary" more than 120 times.

In February 2020, four years after the election, Trump still used the word four times. His most recent use of her name came on February 23, when he tweeted, "Are any Democrat operatives, the DNC, or Crooked Hillary Clinton, blaming Russia, Russia, Russia for the Bernie Sanders win in Nevada. If so I suggest calling Bob Mueller & the 13 Angry Democrats to do a new Mueller Report, Democrat Edition. Bob will get to the bottom of it!"

Newsweek has reached out to Hillary Clinton for comment and will update this article when we get a response.

Hillary is streaming now on Hulu.

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