It’s a specialty of the Washington elite – the non-apology apology. And no one is more elite or more expert in this technique than Hillary Clinton.
She says she’s sorry, and for once, I have to agree with her – she is sorry.
She had to do something. After days of not apologizing, the focus groups and pollsters were coming back with one overriding truth: No one trusts Hillary Clinton.
Since a leopard can’t change its spots, team Hillary knew true repentance, or even a manufactured approximation in any believable sense, was impossible. With no fresh ears left to lie to, they’ve doubled back to those they hope can be drawn back into the fold simply by her saying she is sorry.
On her handling of classified material in a way that would have mere mortals seeking a plea bargain and a pardon, Clinton originally told ABC News “I’m sorry that it has, you know, raised all of these questions. I do take responsibility for having made what is clearly not the best decision.” In other words, she’s sorry people are too dumb to understand people of her ilk aren’t to be held to normal standards, but she, after blaming you, takes responsibility for it.
Realizing the candidate’s insincerity wasn’t winning hearts and minds, team Hillary circled around again.
In an email to supporters, her communications team crafted a new “apology” without the qualifiers, ostensibly from Hillary. She starts, “Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake. I'm sorry about it, and I take full responsibility.”
She then attempts to explain why she’s not guilty of anything other than caring too much.
“It's important for you to know a few key facts,” she/they write. “My use of a personal email account was aboveboard and allowed under the State Department's rules.” Again, she grants herself absolution. Interestingly, Clinton hopes no one remembers she was head of the State Department, meaning she set the rules. At least until the president, her boss, ordered them changed and she didn’t comply.
“Everyone I communicated with in government was aware of it,” she continues. President Obama and a number of top White House aides have said they didn’t, in fact, know. And it’s highly unlikely the ambassador she fired for using personal email for official business did.
Then we get to the gem: “And nothing I ever sent or received was marked classified at the time.” Irrelevant, of course, in the eyes of the law, but also impossible.
Other than routine conversations with staff about the weather at a vacation home, almost all communications between the nation’s top diplomat and her underlings is, to one degree or another, classified. And if Hillary emailed, say, chief of staff Cheryl Mills from her private server, she would be the only person capable for marking it as such because no one in the State Department had access to the emails or, according to other emails released this week, even knew it existed.
“As this process proceeds,” she continues, “I want to be as transparent as possible. That's why I've provided all of my work emails to the government to be released to the public.”
Only that’s not remotely true. If she wanted to be even a little transparent, she wouldn’t have set up a shadow system only a select few loyalists knew about. Also, she didn’t provide her work emails to the government out of magnanimity; she provided them in a belated effort to comply with the Federal Records Act. And she did so by having staff and lawyers with little or no security clearances unfettered access to search them.
Finally, they are being released to the public not at Hillary’s request borne of some newfound embrace of openness. They are coming out by judicial orders, and those orders stem from Freedom of Information Act requests from non-profits and news outlets.
Hillary Clinton may “want to be a transparent as possible,” but that doesn’t mean anything coming from her. Aluminum foil also is as transparent as possible. It’s just not very transparent.
So yes, on her third or fourth try, Hillary Clinton did manage to say she was sorry. It wasn’t sincere; it wasn’t for any reason other than to attempt, yet again, to distract from her lawlessness. And it wasn’t honest. For those reason, and so many others, I firmly agree that Hillary Clinton is, in fact, sorry. Just not in the way she means it.