Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, speaks during a campaign event at Team Wendy in the Cleveland Industrial Innovation Center in Cleveland, June 13, 2016.
Photo by Eric Thayer/The New York Times

After Brexit, Clinton stresses ‘steady, experienced leadership’

Donald Trump had his say in response to the Brexit results, hosting a press conference in Scotland this morning where he spoke at great length about the importance of his golf resort. Soon after, however, Hillary Clinton issued a statement of her own.
“We respect the choice the people of the United Kingdom have made. Our first task has to be to make sure that the economic uncertainty created by these events does not hurt working families here in America. We also have to make clear America’s steadfast commitment to the special relationship with Britain and the transatlantic alliance with Europe.
“This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House to protect Americans’ pocketbooks and livelihoods, to support our friends and allies, to stand up to our adversaries, and to defend our interests. It also underscores the need for us to pull together to solve our challenges as a country, not tear each other down.”
I’ve seen some suggestions that Clinton’s statement was incomplete because she didn’t directly criticize the outcome of yesterday’s vote. Perhaps, but let’s not forget that as Secretary of State, Clinton learned quite a bit about diplomacy, especially when it comes to our closest allies.
If Clinton wins in November, she’s going to have to work closely with British Prime Minister David Cameron’s successor, and for her, there’s no real upside to declaring, even subtly, “The U.K. just screwed up in a big way.”
More interesting, at least to me, was her emphasis on “calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House.”
There’s a school of thought that says any development that rattles Americans’ nerves is probably good news for Trump: more public anxiety leads to a greater appetite for radical change, even if it means putting a nativist reality-show personality in the Oval Office.
Clinton seems eager to turn this dynamic on its head. When the going gets rough and the pressure’s on, the argument goes, Americans should want someone who knows what he or she is doing. Facing a possible crisis, there are real benefits to having national leadership that understands public policy, is familiar with government, keeps up on current events, etc.
Expect to hear this kind of message quite a bit in the coming months, because it fits with practically every scenario. Worried about terrorism? You should be looking for “calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House.” Fearing a recession? What you need is “calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House.” And so on.