Hillary Clinton will soon have another title to add to her collection: grandmother.
Chelsea Clinton lightened the mood at an otherwise serious event in New York City Thursday by announcing that she is expecting a baby with husband Marc Mezvinsky.
In the last few minutes of the event, titled: “Girls: A No Ceilings Conversation,” the 34-year-old, standing alongside her mother, said, “I have one more thing to say very quickly. I just want to thank all of you for being such an inspiration to us and to me in particular. Marc and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year.”
She added, “And I certainly feel all the better, whether it’s a girl or a boy, that she or he will grow up in a world with so many strong, young female leaders.” Chelsea Clinton also praised her mother, saying “I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child and hopefully children as my mom was to me.”
Hillary Clinton told the group that she was “really excited” about the new addition to her family and that it “makes this work even more important.”
The former secretary of state, considered a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, acknowledged this month at a marketing summit in San Francisco that she was thinking about running for the Oval Office, but noted that she would “continue to think about it for a while.” The 2016 presidential election did not come up at Thursday’s event.
All three Clintons – Hillary, Chelsea, and former President Bill – announced the pregnancy news on Twitter.
Hillary Clinton has made her desire for grandchildren known. She told Harper’s Bazaar in 2011 that she’d probably be an “unbearable” grandmother,” but she’d be over-the-moon if her daughter, recently married at the time, had children.
Thursday’s event brought together girls from across the country to talk about their lives, experiences and hopes for the future. Actress and advocate America Ferrera moderated the event at the Lower Eastside Girls Club.
One of the event’s most poignant moments occurred when 19-year-old Nova Bajamonti of Queens publicly came out to Hillary Clinton as an undocumented immigrant. Crying, the teen told her, “There are 11 million people standing behind me here, and I can just only imagine how many girls there are who can’t fully empower themselves, especially in America, because we immigrated here.” Bajamonti added, “This is an extreme glass ceiling for me that I can’t control, not even as a woman but as a human.”
Bajamonti said because of her status, she couldn’t go to her dream college, get a job that requires documentation, vote, or rent an apartment.
Hillary Clinton told Bajamonti that her words were “incredibly brave,” and thanked her for putting a face on the issue. She noted there is a program for young people like herself to sign up for legal status. The former senator declared, “I strongly believe we are missing a great opportunity by not welcoming people like you and 11 million others who have made contributions to our country.”
The elder Clinton continued, saying she’s strongly in favor of the bipartisan immigration reform legislation that cleared the Senate but has stalled in the Republican-controlled House. “Part of the reason why we’re going to do really well in the 21st century is because we are a nation of immigrants and we keep attracting people like you and your family who want to make a contribution. It’s not only because we want to make life better for people like yourself … it’s good for us.” She added that she’d continue to push for immigration reform.Bajamonti told msnbc after the event that she and her parents came from Split, Croatia when she was five years-old. She said Hillary Clinton’s response was “empowering,” adding, “It was a very big and liberating moment for me. I’ve been kind of keeping this a secret in order to protect myself for so many years” but she felt safe to come out publicly during the event. Bajamonti said her mom applied for a Green Card that’s been pending since 2006 and that she has been denied one.
When a student asked the Clintons who inspires them most of all, Hillary said Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban and still fights for girls’ education, inspires her. Hillary Clinton praised the 16-year-old and the “courage that she has given to so many people.”
Chelsea Clinton serves as the vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, which organized Thursday’s event.