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Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg ‘feels bad’ she missed the women’s march and says we’re in ‘challenging times’ under Trump

“But no matter how challenging it looks, history is on our side.”

Lauren Goode, The Verge

It took Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg almost a week to start weighing in on President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration and women’s health care. Now, it seems, she’s making up for lost time.

Just one day after Sandberg said Trump’s immigration ban “defied the heart and values” of the United States, she told a room full of women that we “are in a very challenging time.”

“I recognize fully the challenges,” she said Wednesday at the Watermark Conference for Women in San Jose, Calif., during an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher. “I have to be optimistic. Hope is the fuel for social change. When we don’t have hope, we give up on ourselves.”

“This is a particularly challenging time,” Sandberg continued. “But no matter how challenging it looks, history is on our side.”

Sandberg also announced Wednesday that she is donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood. She sold $100 million in Facebook stock last November with plans to help fund women’s empowerment groups.

Many in Silicon Valley have been waiting for Sandberg to weigh in on Trump’s policies. She’s visible in the tech world as a top leader at Facebook, but also as the author of “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” and a vocal leader on numerous women’s rights issues. Sandberg, not CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was Facebook’s representative when Trump invited many of Silicon Valley’s tech luminaries to his New York City tower for a meeting in mid-December.

“This administration is going to have broad ability to take action on things we care about,” Sandberg said Wednesday after Swisher pressed her on why she attended the Trump administration’s tech meeting. “A dialogue there is important.”

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence listen as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting of technology executives at Trump Tower, December 14, 2016 in New York City. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Her presence at Trump’s meeting is why many were surprised when Sandberg stayed silent following last month’s colossal women’s march that took place in cities all across the country.

Sandberg said Wednesday that she had a personal obligation that kept her from the march, but that it was “an incredible showing of support for women all over the world.”

“I just felt bad that I couldn’t be there,” Sandberg said, “And, once I felt bad, I felt like I couldn’t say anything.”

Some have speculated that Sandberg or Zuckerberg (or both!) might one day want to run for political office themselves. It would make sense for Sandberg, who has been vocal on numerous political issues in the past. She got her start in the U.S. Treasury Department before joining Google and then Facebook.

But she reiterated to Swisher on Wednesday that she has no intention of leaving Facebook anytime soon.

“I love my job,” she said.


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.