Presumed 2016 presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton addressed the Senate torture report for the first time Tuesday night, denouncing the interrogation tactics on the same day Jeb Bush announced that he is exploring a presidential run. She made the remarks during a human-rights awards dinner honoring Robert F. Kennedy’s legacy, where she received the Ripple of Hope award.
The former senator, secretary of State, and presidential candidate referenced recent attacks in Sydney and Pakistan, saying that they should remind Americans not to stoop to that level. “I am proud to have been a part of the Obama administration that banned illegal renditions and brutal interrogation practices.,” Clinton said to applause. “Today, we can say again, in a loud and clear voice, that the U.S. should never condone or practice torture anywhere in the world.” She added, “if that requires new legislation, then Congress should work with President Obama to quickly enact it, and it should not be an issue of partisan politics.”
Clinton quoted her former Senate colleague John McCain when explaining her position: “The high standard to which we hold ourselves isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are, and who we aspire to be.”
The speech also addressed the “thousands of Americans marching in our streets demanding justice for all.” Clinton said RFK’s legacy is a charge to address various social issues. “We can stand up together and say, ‘Yes, black lives matter,’” she explained. “Yes, the government should serve and protect all of our people. Yes, our country is strongest when everyone has a fair shot at the American dream. That inequality is not inevitable. That some of the social disparities we see today may stem from the legacy of segregation and discrimination, but we don’t have to perpetuate them.”
Rumored 2016 presidential candidates have been reluctant to weigh in on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report summary, which came out last week. Critics of the document claim that it is intensely partisan in nature, because the committee’s Republicans refused to participate in the inquiry.