Congresswoman Clinton? President Clinton? For now, Chelsea Clinton says her only plan is to burnish her profile as an author of children’s books.
The former first daughter embarked on a six-state book tour Tuesday that was scheduled back when she believed her mother was on the way to the White House.
There has been no internal polling, no private discussions with political consultants. No one scheduled the tour thinking it would be an effective vehicle to launch a serious political run. She is also preparing to release an illustrated children’s book in May that celebrates female leaders.
“There’s lots of TBDs in Chelsea’s future,” Clinton chief of staff Bari Lurie told The Associated Press, using the acronym for “to be determined.” “But right now she’s very clear: One of those TBDs is not running for office.”
Still, with Hillary Clinton’s political career possibly over following a devastating election loss, people can’t stop speculating about whether her daughter intends to take up the family business.
Chelsea Clinton was blunt in a Tuesday interview with CBS, but also left the door open.
“No, no, no,” Clinton said, noting that she’s pleased with her state and local public officials in New York City.
“I clearly don’t agree with our president, but I’m definitely not the right person to run to defeat him in 2020,” she continued. “So right now, the answer is no. But I think we all need to be asking ourselves that question periodically.”
Asked whether a run for office is inevitable because her parents were both politicians, Chelsea Clinton, 37, would only say that people should be willing to fight for programs and policies they believe in. She said, “I hope that politics is in all of our DNA.”
The comments come as her mother’s political standing reaches new lows. In December, more than 60 percent of Democrats and independents said Hillary Clinton should not run again for office, according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll.
Political operatives in New York say that the younger Clinton, who lives in Manhattan, may have more options than her mother’s poor numbers suggest.
“The brand here is still pretty strong,” said Jefrey Pollock, a New York-based Democratic pollster, referring to liberal New York City and its suburbs. “For right now, if there’s a future, it’s going to be something more local than national.”
Chelsea Clinton continues to serve as vice chairwoman of the board at the Clinton Foundation, an unpaid position that puts her at the center of decisions about the foundation’s future. Among other responsibilities, she plays an active role in fundraising, promotion and program evaluation.
She is also teaching a class on global health governance at Columbia University and recently joined the board of the internet travel site Expedia.
And she is eager to speak out against President Donald Trump’s policies.
Late last week, she warned during a live broadcast fundraiser for the American Civil Liberties Union that Republican-backed voter ID laws are threatening the right to vote.
Over the weekend, she tweeted a link to the Los Angeles Times headline: “Our Dishonest President.” And on Monday, she posted a message to her 1.6 million Twitter followers highlighting the Trump administration’s plan to cut funding at the Environmental Protection Agency.
“She’s made it very clear: ‘I can care deeply and fight for issues I’m passionate about and not be running for public office,” Lurie said.