Carole Radziwill was a journalist who covered politics long before being recruited for a spot on Bravo's "Real Housewives of New York," so it's not surprising she'd be hosting an election party for last year's intense campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
After a spat over politics on last week's episode, Radziwill uninvited co-star Ramona Singer to her party, but apparently what viewers saw on the show was only part of the story.
"When I first said I’m having an election party, Ramona was incredibly rude about Secretary Clinton, and ignorant," Radziwill told TooFab. "She said, ‘You know what? I don’t think I’m gonna come.'"
"It wasn't until after she realized that I agreed with her and said, ‘I agree with you – you shouldn’t come. That’s when she got defensive saying, ‘Well, no, now I want to come,'" she said.
And the former ABC News producer wasn't just "obsessed" with the campaign like some co-stars insinuated during the show; Radziwill was actually invested, even working for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
"It’s more than what meets the eye on the show," she said. "It’s not like I’m intolerant of other people’s views or who they even vote for, it’s just that I actually worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign."
Radziwill chatted with TooFab on Wednesday on why she thinks Hillary lost, Trump's first 100 days, and why when it comes to politics, she spends "more time engaged than the average Ramona."
Did you watch Hillary Clinton’s speech yesterday? Coincidentally, it coincides with tonight’s episode, which is all about your election party.
I was out of town yesterday, so I didn’t get to watch it. But it’s not only the election party. Sometimes things get lost in translation on the show. I campaigned for Hillary Clinton. I was a part of the big Get Out the Vote campaign. My mom and I went to Pennsylvania to canvas in Bethlehem, which was a swing county. So it’s more than what meets the eye on the show. It’s not like I’m intolerant of other people’s views or who they even vote for, it’s just that I actually worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign, so that’s why you see I’m very passionate about it and very vocal about my support of her because I worked for the campaign, and I think you see part of that on the show, I mean I hope so. I wasn’t just spouting off about what was going on – I had an actual stake in the election, as the whole country did.
Does Ramona end up coming to your party even though you uninvited her?
I love this episode. When I first said I’m having an election party, Ramona was incredibly rude about Secretary Clinton, and ignorant. And she said, ‘You know what? I don’t think I’m gonna come.’ That’s what happened. Ramona didn’t really want to come to an election party. It wasn't until after she realized that I agreed with her and said, ‘I agree with you – you shouldn’t come.’ That’s when she got defensive saying, ‘Well, no, now I want to come.’
Like I said, I had a stake in the election, and so did my family, so I didn’t want to have any kind of extraneous drama. And it’s my party! I’ll invite who the hell I want to.
Does your background as an ABC News producer keep you politically aware?
Of course. I have decades of working it at ABC News. I covered campaigns. I’ve covered countless political stories and interviewed senators and congressmen and politicians and governors, so I have a pretty good understanding of how Washington works. I followed this very complicated campaign from… I was aware of the primaries – the Republican primary and the Democratic primary. I had a really good understanding of both candidates. Me – along with the majority of Americans – the people who voted – just thought that Hillary Clinton was the more qualified, better, more intelligent candidate who actually put in the time and the work and knew what the job was about.
What went through your head when you found out Trump was running?
I thought – like I think a lot of people thought – that this is a guy that doesn’t seem to even really want the job, and he’s not qualified for the job. He doesn’t have the right temperament. I thought he was generally unfit for the office. And it’s not a Republican or Democrat thing, it’s an American thing. He didn’t know how to govern. And why should he? He was a businessman his entire life. It was clear he didn’t know the basic tenets of how the government works – the checks and balances, Congress allocating money for policy and not him. He thought he could say in a rally, ‘I’m gonna build a wall and have the Mexicans pay for it.’ Well, that’s not how our government works. The president doesn’t have a checkbook. It’s Congress who decides how our money gets allocated. So I just thought this is really odd and kind of amusing and interesting. It’s more like a reality show than a political campaign, and I didn’t need to read articles, I had my ears and my eyes. And I heard what he was saying, I could see what he was saying, and a lot of what he was saying was just nonsense – I unmitigated nonsense. It sounded good, you’ve got to give it to him. He knows how to win, but this is not about winning. This is about governing. So now we have a Celebrity in Chief, that’s what I call him.
What’re your thoughts on Trump’s first 100 days in office?
I try to give him the benefit of the doubt, and the last 100 days he just reaffirmed everything I thought he was about during the campaign. He has no understanding of what NATO is. He tells Germany they need to pay up for our beautiful military support. He thinks it’s like a licensing deal. He thinks he’s going to provide military support and Germany is going to pay us for that. Well, that’s not how NATO works. The fact is, let’s be honest, it’s not really the first 100 days I’m worried about – it’s the next, like 1,360 days. Those are the days that I worry about.
We do have a president who’s criticized Nordstrom more than he’s criticized Vladimir Putin – a war criminal – so that’s good. I hope everyone who supports him thinks about that.
He lied about the size of his inauguration crowd. He lied about voter fraud. He lied about draining the swamp. He hired a fleet of former Goldman Sachs executives for his cabinet. He accused a former president of wiretapping with zero evidence, a claim even the FBI said was uncategorically untrue. And then he turned around and said, ‘Oh, well, I heard that on Fox News.’
He declares the press, by the way, a constitutionally protected job – unlike his job – an enemy of the people. I spent 15 years as a journalist. That is what dictators do. And he spent, what, 12 out of the 17 weekends golfing on Trump property? He never released his taxes, so we don’t know what foreign banks he’s in business with. He’s keeping the White House visitors a secret. He’s having all sorts of meetings at Mar-a-Lago. He made sure his daughter and son-in-law had jobs, while failing to hire thousands of high-level jobs. He’s outsourcing key, big policy initiatives through his son-in-law, who has zero experience working in government. It’s crazy. He announced the bombing of Syria over eating chocolate cake with the Chines president at Mar-a-Lago. He’s unaware that we’re sending ships to North Korea. He couldn’t pace Syria on the map. He hasn’t passed any legislation, even though his party controls Congress. He signs these executive bans that, for the most part, are unconstitutional. And – oh! – by the way, he’s finally under investigation by the FBI for his ties to Russia. It’s insane.
So then why do you think Hillary lost?
I think Hillary lost because unfortunately in this country… There used to be, when I was in news, one pool of information. There’s pretty much one, big pool of information. And everyone has different opinions out of that pool of information, and that was fine. That was good when you could have forums, debates and discussions over this one concrete set of facts – not alternative facts, just facts. And now we have two sets of information. And they’re two completely separate sets of information from which people are getting their news. The internet has done a lot of wonderful things for society and our country, the world, the global economy, but the one thing that’s made possible is this idea that people can be reading information that is completely false, and they have no awareness of it. You Google anything on the internet and a Breitbart article will come up on the same line as a New York Times Article.
There actually are credible journalists – The New York Times, The Washington Post. Those are credible news sources. This is not Facebook, this is not bloggers. And I’m not smarter than anyone. I’m not smarter than even Ramona Singer. Journalists aren’t smarter, they just – this is their job. This is what they do 10 hours a day. They read information. And as you do that, you just get better at reading between the lines and having an understanding of how things work. That’s their job. Just like a plumber – he’s better at it because that’s what he does 10 hours a day.
Which of the housewives has the most political knowledge?
Dorinda is actually very politically savvy. She fundraised for the Clintons back when her late husband was a big Democratic fundraiser. She’s a little less vocal about it than me, but she’s just as passionate about politics and has met Hillary Clinton several times and has had her at her home and was devastated along with the rest of the country that she lost. I think at a certain point, the media did her no service, no justice. It was hers to lose, and when something’s yours to lose, you’re a little more cautious and more careful, and I think she needed to come out and really be more direct about who this man was, but she never quite did that. She just played it safe. In politics, you can’t play it safe, even when you think you’re going to win. When you’re playing it safe, you don’t take the risks that you need to take in order to win an election like that. Trump was all risk and no responsibility. Hillary was all responsibility and no risk, and that’s not a good place to be when you’re in a heated political campaign.
What went through your head when you heard the results?
I was shocked because everything Trump stands for is sort of everything I grew up understanding was not OK. It wasn’t OK to make sexist remarks about women. It wasn’t OK to call Mexicans rapists. This ‘them against us’ – that wasn’t OK. I just grew up in a small town, working class, Italian family. My parents would never treat people the way that he did. I didn’t come from any kind of elite, rich family, so I understand those people that are out of jobs and are feeling the pain of an economy that’s growing, but growing slowly in a direction that doesn’t maybe include some of the old jobs. I just have a different philosophy. Make America great again? You know what made America great? Education made America great. And informed electorate makes America great. After WWII, the G.I. Bill where everyone came back and got free education through college – that made America great. Hope makes America great. Isolationism and this sort of weird nationalism that’s uni-phobic and racist is not going to make America great. Listen, I’m voting against my economic interest when I vote Democrat, but so are the people in the middle of the country who are voting Republican.
Sonja said last episode she was one of Trump’s advisers. How do you feel about that?
Now she’s sort of backpedaling on that, but she said she was a Trump adviser during the campaign – an unofficial adviser. I think at one point she said that she would even go work for him, so I don’t know how she reconciles that with all of her support of the LGBTQ community because I couldn’t get my head around that, but Sonja’s able to juggle a lot of different philosophies in her head all at once. I don’t even know if she was [his adviser]. She says she was, but Sonja says that she’s a lot of things that turn out not to be true. Now she claims she was a high-end, luxury brand advisor… Who knows? I keep it moving with Sonja. I have friends who voted for Trump, and it’s all OK, but know what you’re voting for. Say, ‘Listen, I need a tax break.’ Be honest about it. Be real. I feel like I wouldn’t trade my soul for a 10 percent cut in my income tax, I just wouldn’t. But some people would.
Would you ever consider running for political office?
Never say never. At one point I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve probably ruined my chances now that I’m on reality television, but oh, that has changed.'