WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton, making a rare public appearance after her presidential election loss, offered an impassioned tribute to the power of diplomacy on Tuesday evening, saying the United States will “weather every storm on the horizon” by staying true to its “universal values.”
While she never mentioned Donald Trump by name, Clinton’s short address at the opening of a new State Department museum was a rebuke of the president-elect, who has already broken decades of diplomatic protocol through his interactions with foreign leaders during his transition.
“Diplomacy is one of the greatest forces for peace, prosperity and progress the world has ever known,” Clinton told dignitaries and donors gathered at the new U.S. Diplomacy Center pavilion. “And today the lessons of this museum are more vital and urgent than ever. Democratic freedom and the rule of law are under attack across the world.”
The museum and education center are aimed at promoting American diplomacy, with a 14-foot section of the Berlin Wall as the star attraction. One of the halls will be named after Clinton, another after former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The bulk of the money raised to support the project came during Clinton’s time at the agency.
Clinton sat on stage alongside former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell. Though Powell supported Clinton in the election, the two have had, at times, a difficult relationship. Over the summer, he repeatedly pushed back against reports that he suggested Clinton use a private email account as secretary of state.
She warned that the “longstanding bipartisan goal of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace is under enormous pressure,” a subtle reference to heightened Russian aggression in the region. Trump has been a fierce defender of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Clinton has kept a low profile since the election, popping up at a Broadway shows and in selfies snapped by supporters who run into her at bookstores and hiking near her Chappaqua, New York home.
In her last public appearance, an event last month thanking campaign donors, Clinton blamed Russian interference for her defeat in the presidential race, casting her loss as part of a long-running strategy by Putin to discredit the fundamental tenets of American government.
Trump’s choice to head the State Department, Exxon Mobil chief Rex Tillerson, is scheduled to face the Senate in his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.