Donald Trump has tried to brand his opponent, “Crooked Hillary.” It turns out she has spent 4 decades in public life doing most of the work for him. Even for people who do not follow politics closely the Clinton name is a byword for scandal and corner-cutting (I’m being nice). Now recent polling shows that more Americans than ever before believe Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy – and the number is rising.
A month ago 62% of voters in a CBS News/New York Times polls said that Hillary Clinton is “not honest and trustworthy” – a shockingly high number for someone involved in politics on the national stage who has not retired in disgrace. But today, just 1 month later, the same poll shows that the number has risen to 67%. Better than 2/3 of American voters believe that Clinton cannot be trusted. This will have a profound impact on her chances in November.
Hillary has no one but herself to blame. She and Bill have spent their years in public service creating and then dodging one scandal after another. The only thing they have learned is to up the ante – to make themselves too big to jail.
When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, the Clintons got themselves into shady financial deals like the Whitewater Land fraud that sent almost everyone involved, except the Clintons, to jail. Around the same time, Hillary was able to turn a $1,000 speculation in cattle futures into a $100,000 windfall with a little help from her friends at Tyson Foods. These, and other scandals, dogged the Clintons throughout the 1990s. And let’s not forget that Bill Clinton was disbarred in April, 2001 for lying under oath while in office.
While Bill was President the Clintons were accused of selling access to themselves and the White House using the Lincoln Bedroom as the vehicle. Among his final acts as President, Bill made a number of controversial pardons, in particular the one for mega-donor and tax fugitive Marc Rich. The only thing that has changed over time is the scale and the sheer brazenness of their schemes. First it was thousands, later millions, and now hundreds of millions of dollars.
Desiring – and believing they deserved – the money to finance their lavish lifestyle the Clintons were no longer satisfied with Arkansas-sized graft. After leaving the White House it was time for the big leagues. Bill Clinton started by raking in speaking fees in the Middle East while with Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. (Bill’s role in Yucaipa would later net him a reported $20 million.) This later led to the formation of a front company called Teneo and to the Clinton Foundation. Hundreds of millions of dollars have flowed through those entities to the Clintons.
Hillary likely set up her illegal private email servers (not just 1 as she has consistently claimed) so she could hide the link between the Clinton Foundation and her actions as Secretary of State. People have been focused on the cover-up – the illegal email servers – but the bigger scandal is what Hillary was hiding in her emails.
And what about Benghazi? Hillary and Obama left our American ambassador and his security team to die and then peddled a phony story about the attack on the American compound being a “spontaneous” protest in response to a YouTube video. The publisher of the video was jailed in Los Angeles and now lives in a homeless shelter. But phone transcripts released by the State Department under the terms of a FOIA lawsuit prove that Hillary Clinton always knew it was an attack not a spontaneous protest. The transcripts have her talking to then Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil less than 24 hours after the attack and saying “We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack – not a protest.”
This is not even an exhaustive list of Clinton scandals. The main reason the whiff of scandal and corruption has never been far from the Clintons is not a vast right wing conspiracy as Hillary and her enablers have claimed time and again. It’s that there has always been scandal and corruption wherever the Clintons are. Maybe they’re unlucky and it’s just a multi-decade coincidence. But the American people increasingly think not. Rather than the steady hand Hillary wants us to see, most people see a schemer they cannot trust. And it’s not going away. This, perhaps more than anything Donald Trump can do, strikes at the heart of Hillary’s campaign and could keep her from the White House.