Nicola Sturgeon ‘felt rage’ over Hillary Clinton’s treatment

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture; PA
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture; PA
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she felt “rage” at the way Hillary Clinton was treated during the US election campaign.

The SNP leader said she found it “quite difficult to understand” Donald Trump winning and how the US elected him so shortly after electing its first black president.

She said people looked on in “horror and disbelief” at what was happening daily in America and in a discussion on racism said she had been outspoken in her criticism of the US president as she could not maintain a diplomatic silence about “fundamental human values”.

Ms Sturgeon was interviewing author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

In a wide-ranging discussion on equality with the writer of the Orange Prize winning Half a Yellow Sun, the First Minister also said she felt “upset” for being criticised for not smiling earlier in her political career.

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Ms Sturgeon said: “When I was a younger woman in politics what was very often said about me, and I used to get upset because I didn’t think it was true, was that I didn’t smile.

“You would never hear that about a man in politics and things in men that are seen as leadership and assertiveness - in a woman you are bossy and strident.”

Ms Ngozi Adichie, a self-confessed “fangirl” of the First Minister, said she felt “rage” reading an article about the politician that said she was too serious.

She added: “That standards are not the same and if the standards are not the same we don’t have justice.”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “I felt myself feeling that same rage watching the American election and watching how Hillary Clinton was treated.

“You still hear people saying it wasn’t because she is a woman and, of course, not everything was because she was a woman, but watching it from afar so many of the judgments made were absolutely because she was a woman.”

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She added: “For those of us looking at the States from the outside just now what is quite difficult, speaking personally, to understand is not just the election of Trump but how a country goes from electing its first black president to Trump in such a short space of time.

“Here many of us look on in horror and disbelief at what’s happening on a day-to-day basis.”

Questioned on dealing with racism, Ms Sturgeon said: “I do think overall Scotland is a welcome and tolerant place that celebrates diversity, but that’s not to say there aren’t racists among us and we must call it out and we must call it out internationally.

“I’ve had some criticism as First Minister for being so explicit in my criticism of Donald Trump but there are some things that are so fundamental human values that you can’t have a diplomatic silence about them.”