Hilary Clinton has come under fire for saying that in order to successfully tackle populism in Europe, politicians need to curb migration to the continent.
“I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” she told the Guardian when asked about the rise of populists across Europe.
Clinton said that while she respected German leader Angela Merkel — considered one of the biggest advocates for migration into the EU — Europe needed to have a reckoning with migration in order to contain the populists.
"I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part and must send a very clear message — ‘We are not going to be able to continue to provide refuge and support' – because if we don’t deal with the migration issue, it will continue to roil the body politic,” she said.
Back in 2015, Europe saw just over a million people — fleeing from the war in Syria, instability in their home regions, and economic hardship — arrive on its shores. In the years since, right-leaning politicians and populists have railed against migration, using it to bolster their positions among the electorate.
However, migration to the EU states is actually down — way down. So far this year, less than 100,000 people have successfully made it to Europe.
Clinton's remarks were not well-received.
Her remarks were also seized upon by members of the far right in Europe, who have long advocated for reducing migration.
Even British politicians weighed in.
People noted extending Clinton's logic was not great.
And a few people made this joke...
Perhaps Clinton isn't the best person to give advice on how to stop right-wing populism given that she lost to President Donald Trump, who is seen as a populist champion.
In response to the outcry, Clinton clarified her comments in a series of tweets on Friday afternoon, saying "On both sides of the Atlantic, we need reform."
"Not open borders, but immigration laws enforced with fairness and respect for human rights," she continued. "We can’t let fear or bias force us to give up the values that have made our democracies both great and good."
"Democracy hangs in the balance on both sides of Atlantic and we need to save it," she concluded. "Can’t just keep doing the same things."